Hippo Tang (Blue Tang)
Also known as the Palette Surgeonfish or Hepaus tang, the Blue Hippo Tang is vibrant blue with contrasting bold, black markings, and a bright yellow tail fin. It has a pointed snout-like nose and sharp spines at the base of the tail. The spines are equipped with a venom gland that inflicts a sting to its victims. It can grow to a length of 12-inches.
Range & Habitat
Native to the reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific region, they live in small groups or pairs.
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Widespread coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are worrisome, and there is some concern about illegal collection for the aquarium trade.
In the Wild – Plankton and algae (juveniles primarily eat plankton).
At the Zoo – Marine plants, zooplankton, dried algae.
In Human Care: 12-14 years
Fun Facts about the Hippo Tang (Blue Tang)
- Dory from the "Finding Nemo" movies is a Blue Tang.
- Juvenile tangs are bright yellow.
- These fish can make themselves semi-transparent to evade predators.
- Their coloring is a warning to predators that they are poisonous.
Dallas Zoo. (2021). Retrieved June 2, 2021, from https://dwazoo.com/animal/blue-hippo-tang/
McIlwain, J., Choat, J.H., Abesamis, R., Clements, K.D., Myers, R., Nanola, C., Rocha, L.A., Russell, B. & Stockwell, B. 2012. Paracanthurus hepatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T177972A1507676. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012.RLTS.T177972A1507676.en. Downloaded on 03 June 2021.
Thurston, A. 2011. "Paracanthurus hepatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed June 02, 2021 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Paracanthurus_hepatus/