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Atlantic Blue Tang Complete Guide in 2024

One type of surgeonfish commonly found in the western Atlantic Ocean is the atlantic blue tang. These fish live in coral reefs and tend to be shy and hide from predators whenever possible. It will defend itself when necessary by pulling back the spines on its tail. Those who catch this type of fish should be careful as the spines can cause serious damage. Although this fish works well as bait and aquarium fish, But its unsuitability as a food fish limits its commercial value.

Atlantic Blue Tang Classification and Scientific Name

Atlantic Blue Tang

One species of pelagic fish in the Acanthurus genus is the blue tang (Acanthurus coeruleus), a name that describes the blade-like spine at the base of the tail. Derived from the Greek words for spines (akantha) and tail (oura). Blue surgeonfish, Atlantic bluefish, blue cichlid, yellow cichlid, blue barberfish, yellow barberfish. and blue cichlids They are all other names. of this type of fish Forty-one species of the genus Acanthurus are found in the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic oceans. Surgeonfish, tangerines, and unicornfish are among more than 80 species of fish in the family Acanthuridae, which is divided into six genera. The family Acanthuriformes belongs to the genus Actinopterygii. This includes stingrays and surgeonfish. It is important to differentiate Acanthurus coeruleus from Paracanthurus hepatus, which is a similar species of surgeon fish. Another name for this Indo-Pacific species is “Blue Tank”.

Atlantic Blue Tang Facts

  • A type of surgeonfish: Surgeonfish have one or more sharp spines near their tails in the approximate shape of a surgeon’s scalpel. These spines are capable of causing deep cuts. Some of them are retractable while others are fixed.
  • Elusive: Being small in size, this fish constantly needs to evade predators. It likes to hide itself in holes in the coral where it lives, especially at night. It can be difficult to spot even during the day.
  • Three different color phases: These fish go through three distinct color phases according to how old they are, beginning with bright yellow and eventually transitioning to a deep blue.
  • Aquarium fish: Due to its eye-catching coloration, this species makes a desirable aquarium fish. However, pet owners must be prepared to accommodate its needs, including giving it ample space to swim.

Atlantic Blue Tang Appearance

Atlantic Blue Tang

Blue fish are deep-bodied fish that have various color phrases. Three phrases compressed on the side Initial larvae are bright yellow with blue-rimmed fins. One day, their bodies turn a mixture of blue and yellow. They turn pastel blue or purple-gray in the second stage. With yellow color on the tail fin. Adult species have a characteristic dark blue color. along with a little purple and the yellow coccyx in the third stage. This fish has 16 teeth in the lower jaw and 14 in the upper jaw, so it is a generalist grazer that has evolved its teeth to eat algae. Their eyes were higher than their small lips. which is located near the base This surgeonfish has retractable spines on both sides of its peduncle. which is the thinnest part of the tail Because of these modifications Management may therefore be risky. Although they can reach a maximum length of 15.3 inches (1.3 feet), adults of this species usually measure between 9.8 and 12 inches.

Atlantic Blue Tang Distribution, Population, and Habitat

Atlantic Blue Tang

Blue tang fish are marine animals associated with coral reefs. They live at depths between 6.5 and 164 feet as they are mostly diurnal animals. It prefers coastal areas with coral, grass or rocks where it can hide from predators at night. Even though some people live alone But many live in pairs or small groups, and sometimes form larger groups. A marine fish that lives in coral reefs, the blue tang can be found at depths between 6.5 and 164 feet below the surface of the sea. Most are diurnal animals that prefer coastal areas with rocks, grass, or coral, where they can hide from predators throughout the night. Although some live alone But most live in pairs or small groups. Sometimes they will join together with members of the same species to form large groups. Countries, islands and regions with populations of these fish are listed in the table below. The IUCN classified them as a species of least concern in 2010. Their populations are now stable worldwide.

Atlantic Blue Tang Evolution and History

It is most likely that the blue flavor originates from the Paleogene period of the early Eocene epoch, which lasted between 56 and 33.9 million years ago. The Greek word eos, meaning “dawn,” is the origin of the name Eocene. How many species evolved and became more diverse during this time? During this time, the modern Acanthurus genus began to form, resulting in 41 species known to exist today. The blue fish’s lower mouth and deep body likely come from a common ancestor of the family Acanthurinae and the genus Prionurus. Acanthurin ancestors had long intestines, smaller eyes, and longer snouts. The basic morphology of planktivores Acanthurus and Paracanthurus in the family Acanthuridae differs from the morphology of the genus Naso, which includes unicornfish. Three species of the Atlantic genus Acanthurus—A. coeruleus also known as atlantic blue tang; Acanthurus chirurgus; and Acanthurus bahianus—did not show noticeable diversity despite being separated geographically. According to phylogenetic analysis of the genus, on the other hand, A. coeruleus populations from the Greater and Southwestern Caribbean displayed a different number of rDNA sites.

Atlantic Blue Tang Predators and Prey

During the day, blue tangs dedicate themselves to foraging and grazing on rocks and coral. By taking advantage of gaps and holes in the coral reefs where they live. It therefore hides from many predators at night.

What Does the Atlantic Blue Tang Eat?

Because they are herbivores. Therefore, these fish only eat algae found on the reefs where they live. They work together with other similar fish species, such as other surgeonfish. To control the growth of algae So that the corals are not harmed. Young green turtles (Chelonia mydas) also participate in the process of removing parasites and molting from their skin and shell. Paying special attention to the fins. in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean They worked with a sergeant (Abudefduf saxatilis) and a cichlid (Acanthurus chirurgus) to achieve this goal.

What Eats the Atlantic Blue Tang?

Predators such as catfish, grouper, tuna, bass, and other large fish. Aimed at these relatively small fish. Another concern comes from reef sharks.

Atlantic Blue Tang Reproduction and Lifespan

Bluefish spawning usually only occurs once or twice a year. Adult fish change from a uniform blue to a light blue. Its back is dark blue before it lays eggs. in the afternoon and evening They gather together in large groups. They are separated by multiple females and males. “Spawning” occurs when males aggressively chase females. As a result, they run towards the surface of the water. Both sexes release eggs and sperm into the sea during this action. The diameter of the eggs is about 0.03 inches. Each egg has oil dripping inside that allows it to float in the water. within one day of fertilization Translucent larvae with primitive tail spines emerge from fertilized eggs. Because it was initially believed that these larvae came from another genus, Acronurus, they were called “acronurus.” The laterally compressed, diamond-shaped larvae have large eyes and triangular heads. It also has pectoral fins and vertical protrusions. Larvae develop scales, anal fins, and dorsal fins. Measuring between 0.07 and 0.24 inches long, they have tail spines that are up to 0.5 inches long. Once ashore, the fry will pass through the juvenile stage. longer nose rounder profile And the color change from silver to brown is a related change. They can grow up to 2 inches long and change color again to bright yellow after about a week. This type of fish reaches adulthood when it is nine to twelve months old, or four to five inches long. In the wild, they can live up to 12 or 15 years.

Atlantic Blue Tang in Fishing and Cooking

Because the fish has a bad smell. Blue tang fish therefore do not have much commercial value. This can lead to periodic ciguatera poisoning. This fish is often used in the aquarium trade. But sometimes fishermen use it as bait. Potential pet owners should be aware that these fish require a moderate level of experience. Read this guide for more details on how to care for these fish.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Q. Where is the blue tang found?

This species can be found from Brazil to New York in the western Atlantic Ocean. in the eastern Atlantic Ocean It also occurs near Ascension Island.

Q. Is the blue tang good to eat?

This is because their flesh is hard and ciguatera is at risk of toxicity. In general, it is not recommended for humans to consume this type of fish.

Q. Is the blue tang a good aquarium fish?

Although this requires some space and some experience. But this species is often found in aquariums.

Q. Is the blue tang an endangered species?

There is no endangered status for this fish. The IUCN classified it as Least Concern in 2010.


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