Animal Species:Blue Tang, Paracanthurus hepatus (Linnaeus, 1766)

The Blue Tang is easily recognised by its blue body with black markings. P.hepatus is the only species in the genus Paracanthurus.

Juvenile Blue Tang at Osprey Reef

Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Blue Tang

Alternative Name/s

Blue Surgeon, Blue Surgeonfish, Flag-tail Surgeon-fish, Indo-pacific Bluetang, Palette Surgeonfish, Palette Tang, Wedgetailed Blue Tang

Identification

The Blue Tang is a surgeonfish (family Acanthuridae) that is easily recognised by its blue body with black markings. The caudal fin is yellow with a black stripe along both the upper and lower margins.The species has a blade on both sides of the caudal peduncle and venomous fin spines.

Size range

The species grow to 31 cm in length.

Distribution

The Blue Tang occurs widely throughout the Indo-West Pacific. In Australia, the species occurs on nearly the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Paracanthurus hepatus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Blue Tang specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Feeding and Diet

The species feed on zooplankton.

Classification

Species:
hepatus
Genus:
Paracanthurus
Family:
Acanthuridae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  3. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  4. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Blue Tang, Paracanthurus hepatus, Acanthuridae, blue, yellow, black, 'normal fish', round, 30 cm - 1 m, stripes or bands, coral reef, marine, adult,