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.
Standard Common Name
Blue Surgeon, Blue Surgeonfish, Flag-tail Surgeon-fish, Indo-pacific Bluetang, Palette Surgeonfish, Palette Tang, Wedgetailed Blue Tang
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.
The species grow to 31 cm in length.
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.
Distribution by collection data
Feeding and Diet
The species feed on zooplankton.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
- 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