There is a strong lunar pattern to reproduction with egg production peaking at the full moon. Females spawn most days, likely greater than 80% at least during the peak reproductive season.
Females can produce up to 25,000 eggs per day, with an average adult female producing about 1.1 million eggs per year.
Reproductive effort peaks in the late spring and summer, but there is evidence that yellow tang spawn at some level throughout the year.
Adult males and females can be identified by the external appearance of the urogential opening.
At 13 cm total length and around 5 years old females make a habitat shift from deeper coral rich habitats to shallow turf algal dominate reef flat and boulder habitats. They also start acting like adults in terms of movement patterns and spawign activity, and they start producing substantial amounts of eggs following a lunar cycle. Below this size and age egg production is minimal.
- Bushnell ME, Claisse JT, Laidley CW (2010) Lunar and seasonal patterns in fecundity of an indeterminate, multiple-spawning surgeonfish, the yellow tang Zebrasoma flavescens. Journal of Fish Biology 76: 1343-1361
- Claisse JT, Kienzle M, Bushnell ME, Shafer DJ, Parrish JD (2009) Habitat- and sex-specific life history patterns of yellow tang Zebrasoma flavescens in Hawaii, USA. Marine Ecology Progress Series 389: 245-255
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