Regal Blue Tang – 9 Facts You Need To Know And Their Weird Behaviors

Regal Blue Tang

Last updated on July 22nd, 2022 at 12:37 pm

The Regal Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) is likewise referred to as Blue Tang, the Palette, Surgeonfish, the Hepatus Tang, and obviously more notoriously as Dory from the Pixar films “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory“.

They get their typical name, the Palette Surgeonfish from the resemblance of the black pattern on the body to an artist’s palette. They are the only member of the genus Paracanthurus.

Members of the Acanthuridae family have a foldable razor-sharp spine on either side of the caudal area. They get their name Surgeonfish from these blades. The blades are used for defense and possibly in territorial disagreements and can inflict substantial damage.

Regal Blue Tang

The blades are reported to consist of contaminants, however, there seems no clinical proof for this. On the Regal Blue Tang, the blade is not also developed as on some other Surgeonfish.

Among the greatest movie stars of 2016 is Dory, a forgetful and precocious fish featured in “Finding Dory.” Dory is a cartoon representation of a Paracanthurus hepatus, a kind of surgeonfish that also has numerous typical names.

This fish’s common names include palette surgeonfish, flagtail surgeonfish, blue surgeonfish, common surgeon, doctorfish, letter 6 fish, Pacific blue tang, Pacific regal blue tang, regal blue tang, regal tang, royal blue tang, hippo tang, wedgetail blue tang, and blue tang.

Even somebody without Dory’s memory concerns would be hard-pressed to remember all those names! In addition, Oceana, an environmentalist group, points out that completely various types of fish, Acanthurus coeruleus, is likewise called a blue tang

The appearance of the regal blue tang

The Regal Blue Tang actually has an elongated oval body that is laterally compressed. The body has a royal blue color lightening a little towards the anal fin. Remarkably, the blue color is produced not by pigment but rather by iridophores in the skin. A black mark looking like an artist’s palette begins from over the eye and covers much of the upper body back to the caudal area.

The caudal fin has a wedged-shaped yellow mark on it and extends simply from the front of the blade onto this mark and the fin is lined in black. There are usually a couple of great black dots or marks in the facial area.

The Blackbar Soldierfish (Myripristis jacobus)

They develop up to 30 cm in length however around 15 to 20 cm is more typical in the wild. The pectoral fin is yellow on the tip and on some specimens the dorsal fin has yellow on the spinal columns.

The regal blue tang size & description

Regal blue tangs are determined by their intense blue coloring, oval bodies, and yellow, flag-shaped tails. Their pectoral fins are also yellow. Adults have a narrow line of dark blue along their dorsal fin that curves back at the tail. Its resemblance to the numeral 6 provides the fish one of its detailed names.

Regal Blue Tang

Pigmentation changes as regal blue tangs mature, according to the Animal Diversity Web (ADW). In “Finding Dory,” baby Dory was blue with a yellow tail, in genuine life juvenile regal blue tangs are intense yellow with blue spots by their eyes, and their fins have light blue tips. Their bodies end up being blue as they grow.

Surgeonfish get their name from the scalpel-like spines along the top and bottom of their bodies. These fishes have a poisonous and sharp spinal column at the base of their caudal fin, or tail fin, to safeguard themselves from predators.

The caudal spine consists of a contaminant that can cause serious discomfort, to little predators along with humans. Adult regal blue tang fish usually weigh around 21.15 ounces (600 grams) and are 4.72 to 14.96 inches (12 to 38 centimeters) long. Males are normally larger than females, according to research

Habitat of the regal blue tang

As one name indicates, these fish reside in the Pacific Ocean, but they are also found in the Indian Ocean, from East Africa to Micronesia, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Their homes are the coral reefs that grow along the shores. They particularly like to hide in the safeguarding branches of cauliflower coral.

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Regal Blue Tang is also found across the Indo-Pacific area from East Africa to Southern Japan and throughout to the Pacific Islands. In Tanzania, they are most common around the 18 to 25-meter range. A single specimen has actually been found in Bat Yam in Israel, in Mediterranean waters suggesting that the types have actually been launched in the location as they are not found in the Red Sea.

The behavior of the regal blue tang

These fish are rather social and are generally found in sets or in small groups. Frequently, they form schools with 10 to 12 members. Regal blue tangs do not simply hang out with their own kind, either. They include numerous various types of surgeonfish and tang in their schools.

When faced with a predator, regal blue tangs typically “play dead” by resting on their side and remaining stationary up until the predator passes them by.
Males are frequently aggressive towards one another, having “sword battles” with their caudal spines. They accomplish supremacy this way, and more dominant males have bigger breeding grounds.

Regal blue tang in the wild

The Regal Blue Tang is not that common on the East Africa coast and tends to be found in little groups of 5 to 10 fish that spend time in an area but move routinely. They tend to be found on open seaward reefs or gullies with a reasonable amount of current.

The juveniles are seen individually in shallower more protected reefs, typically in small shoals above Acropora corals, and fast to dart into the coral, just emerging after the diver is in a substantial range away.

The adults are not rather as shy but when approached will conceal in crevices and tend to come out rather quickly and will come out to examine the diver. If they feel threatened they will enter into a crevice and not come out up until the diver has left the location. They must be approached quite carefully in order to get closer to them.

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They are discovered in between two to forty meters, however, appear most common in the 18 to 25-meter range during the day. In the evening they are sometimes seen on the reef in shallower water, from 8 to 10 meters.


The juvenile Regal blue Tang feed upon plankton and the grownups feed on both plankton and algae.

Reproduction and offspring of the regal blue tang

Regal Blue Tang

When it is time to reproduce, royal blue tangs gather in breeding groups. Women release their eggs into the water above the coral, and the males also release sperm, and fertilization happens externally.

Group spawning occurs with the women releasing spawn into the water table (called broadcast spawning) and the males fertilizing the eggs. Large aggregations typically happen throughout spawning. When the eggs hatch the larvae go through a planktonic stage before settling down. They become sexually mature at around 10 cm.

Spawning aggregations form around external reef slopes and they are thought to spawn all year on the new moon. While spawning the colors are lightened to a lighter blue color.

About 40,000 eggs are released per spawning session, according to the ADW. After spawning, the “parents” swim off, never ever caring about their offspring.

The fertilized eggs are cast adrift and enter into the plankton “soup,” according to the Marine Auqarium Societies of North America (MASNA). About 26 hours after fertilization, the eggs live and hatch in the soup until it is time to metamorphose into juveniles. At that point, they settle into a coral environment, where they complete the metamorphosis. Baby regal blue tangs are called larvae. Maturity is measured by size instead of age, according to the ADW. When they reach 11 cm (4.3 inches) in length, males are considered to be matured.


Regal Blue Tang are highly searched for by aquarists as they are colorful serene fish. They are reasonably easy to keep and feed but a huge part of their diet plan ought to be algae in one form or another to keep them healthy.

Blue Hippo Tang Fish "Paracanthurus Hepatus"

Terrific care needs to be taken when moving them as their blades can quickly snag in a net or worst case pierce a bag. Unfortunately they are often kept in small fish tanks and they are never happy in these, choosing to have hiding locations and space to swim in.

Larvae have been effectively raised in captivity and it is possible that in the future this will take the pressure off of wild stocks.

The regal blue tang conservation status

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Paracanthurus hepatus are not endangered and are noted as the least issue. Their populations are widespread and it is believed that the population is not declining.

These fishes are popular aquarium types, and some environmentalists are worried that these fish will be victims of increased popularity due to the movie, “Finding Dory”. Other animals have suffered after being featured in current films.

Some call it the “Finding Nemo Impact” According to the Aquarium Welfare Association (AWA) after that film came out in 2003, demand skyrocketed and hatcheries could not keep up with this demand.

They needed to turn to purchase wild-caught specimens. This, in turn, caused population declines in numerous natural environment areas.

Likewise, many individuals bought the clownfish without knowing how to appropriately take care of them. Influenced by a line in the move, hundreds of kids flushed their clownfish down the toilet in the hope of setting them totally free, according to the AWA.

There has been no success in breeding regal blue tangs in captivity; so increased need will necessarily trigger more fish to be caught, which will reduce populations.