Regal tangfish

(Paracanthurus hepatus)


Regal tangfish IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The palette surgeonfish is the only member of its genus. It reaches a total length of 31 cm. It has an anterolateral glandular groove with a venom gland venom gland.

Palette surgeonfish feed exclusively on algae

Did you know?
that most coral fish species have a plethora of common names? E.g. English names of Paracanthurus hepatus are:palette surgeonfish, blue tang, hippo tang, wedge-tailed tang, wedgetail blue tang, flagtail surgeonfish or blue surgeonfish.


Name (Scientific) Paracanthurus hepatus
Name (English) Regal tangfish
Name (French) Chirurgien bleu
Name (German) Paletten-Doktorfisch
Name (Spanish) Pez cirujano azul
Local names Bahasa Indonesia: Leter enam kecil
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



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Range Indian Ocean from the coast of East Africa and the Mascarene Islands to the Pacific as far east as Kiribati, north to southern Japan, south to the southern Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia, and Samoa.
Habitat Coral reefs from surface to 40 m depth.
Wild population Unknown
Zoo population Considering that most publc aquaria are not part of the WAZA system and do not register their collections with ISIS, available ISIS data are not significant.

In the Zoo

Regal tangfish


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 51 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.

Fish must be unpacked carefully and under low illumination.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Vladimír Motyčka

Why do zoos keep this animal

Regal tangfish are not an endangered species but their habitats, coral reefs, are threatened in many places. They are thus presented by zoos and aquariums as an ambassador species for reef protection.