Latin name

Paracanthurus hepatus

Other names

Regal tang, palette surgeonfish, blue tang.


The body is laterally compressed and ovoid in shape. This species is characterised by long dorsal and anal fins and a steeply sloping forehead. Large eyes provide excellent orientation in dark water. Anterolateral glandular groove containing a venomous gland.

Features of fish fins

Dorsal spines: 9; Dorsal soft rays: 19-20; Anal spines: 3; anal soft rays: 18-19.

Fish colouring

The body colour is dark blue with a prominent black pattern, the caudal fin is yellow.


Widespread in the Indo-Pacific from East Africa to Japan and Samoa.


Bentopelagic. Fish prefer to live on the outer slopes of coral reefs at depths of up to 40m between corals and in rock crevices.


Body length ranges from 15 to 30 cm. Males are slightly larger than females.


Fry live in flocks, adult fish live in pairs or singly. Life expectancy is 20 years.

Food and feeding habits

It feeds on both plankton and algae, which distinguishes it from most Acanthuridae.


Puberty begins at the age of two. 


No commercial value.

Relationship with a person

Popular aquarium fish. Poisonous.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Acanthuriformes
Family Acanthuridae
Genus Paracanthurus
Species P. hepatus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years 20
Maximum body weight, kg No information
Maximum length, cm 30
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Not edible
Way of eating Planktonophage

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Tags: paracanthurus