ANIMAL: Yellow Tang Zebrasoma flavescens Type of Animal: Tang/Surgeonfish Habitat: Reefs, dense coral lagoons Location(s): Native to Pacific from Hawaii in E to SW Japan in W & S to N Australia & surrounding islands. Have been released in Florida & in Mediterranean. Appearance: Bright yellow fish, yellower during day & fades at night w/ prominent brownish patch developing in middle w/ horizontal white bands, arrow-shaped fish w/ pointy beak/narrow face, large dorsal fin on top of body running almost entire body except for tail Food/Diet: Algae, seaweed, sea lettuce, green vegetable matter, shrimp, krill, fish poop Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in aquaculture, aquariums, & zoos. Captive breeding reducing demand for wild-caught fish. Lifestyle: Schools of 16-40 fish, territories often defended by school Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Acronurus Group: School Weight: Male: 5-8 oz Female: 4-6 oz Gestation: 1 day Life Span: 10 years in captivity, 30 years in wild Body Length: Male: 4-8 in Female: 2-6.5 in Young: 0.5 in Main predators are larger fish, sharks, crabs, & octopus. During spawning, males court females by shimmering. Important in keeping reefs healthy due to algae-eating diet. Without these fish, algal overgrowths can occur. They’re broadcast spawners, w/ spawning occurring in groups & females releasing eggs/males releasing sperm in open water simultaneously. Females can produce up to 40,000 eggs per month. Females mate w/ 1 male per month while males mate w/ many females. After hatching, clear pelagic larvae develop among plankton, entering acronurus larval stage where oval body/dorsal & ventral fins/spines develop. Enter planktonic stage at 2.5 months old, letting waves carry them. Maturity reached at around a year old. Besides using tail scalpels in defense, they’ll also use them in territorial fights. Sometimes hybridize w/ Scopas/Brown Tang. Active during the day (diurnal). Retreat into rockwork at night. Sometimes seen schooling w/ other fish species. Fun Fact(s): Known to provide cleaning services to sea turtles by removing algae from shells. Also called Yellow Surgeonfish, Yellow Sailfin Tang, Yellow Hawaiian Tang, Lemon Surgeonfish, Yellow Doctorfish, Lemon Sailfish, & Somber Surgeonfish, Lancetfish, & Thorntail. Gets surgeonfish/doctorfish name from 2 razor sharp scalpel-like spines near tail base used in defense. These can cause nasty wounds. In younger fish, they’re venomous. Very popular saltwater aquarium fish but rather difficult to breed in captivity.