The Regal Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) is a tropical marine (saltwater) fish. It is also called the Blue Tang, the Blue Surgeonfish, or the Palette Surgeonfish.
The Regal Tang has a deep-blue body, a yellow tail, and a black design like a paint palette or easel. It is flat with an almost circular body and a pointed nose. It has small scales.
It measures 30 centimetres (12 inches) in length.
The Regal Tang is native to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, including Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. It prefers shallow coral reefs.
It eats plankton and algae.
It is commonly seen in pairs, or in small groups of 8-14 individuals.
Females lay about 40,000 eggs near coral. She does not look after her eggs – she swims away and leaves them. Most of the eggs are eaten by other fish. The eggs hatch after about 26 hours.
The average lifespan of a Regal Tang is 30 years.
[Location of photographs: Canberra Aquarium, Australia]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM