Hippo Blue Tang

(Paracanthurus hepatus)

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Habitat/Range

Tropical coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific 

Animal Size

12 inches

The blue hippo tang is a species of surgeonfish that has many different common names, including the royal blue tang, regal tang and palette surgeonfish. Juveniles are bright yellow with blue spots. Once it matures, the adult has a bright blue, oval-shaped body with a yellow, flag-shaped tail and tallow-tipped pectoral fins. Like all surgeonfish, this species has scalpel-like spines along the top and bottom of its body and a sharp, venomous spine at the base of its caudal fin, or tail fin, to protect it from predators. Adults are omnivorous and feed on plankton, but will also graze on algae which grows on coral reefs. By keeping algae in check, the blue hippo tang is essential to keeping the coral reef healthy. Unlike the Dory in the movie Finding Dory, it is unlikely that the blue hippo tang suffers from short-term memory loss.

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