Yellow tangs have a clear larval stage before developing into juveniles. Juveniles and adults have a narrow, oval body. They have an average length-weight ratio between 2.93 and 3.16. They have a long snout for eating algae, a large dorsal fin with four to five spines, and an anal fin with three spines. Like other surgeonfish and tangs (Acanthuridae), yellow tangs have a white, scalpel-like spine on both sides of the tail that can be used for defense or aggression. Yellow tangs are named for their bright yellow coloring; the only area that is not yellow is the white spine. At night, this bright yellow color changes to a darker, grayer yellow with a white lateral line.
Range length: 20 (high) cm.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike
- Guiasu, R., R. Winterbottom. 1998. Yellow juvenile color pattern, diet switching and the phylogeny of the surgeonfish genus Zebrasoma. Bulletin of Marine Science, 63: 277-294.
- Froese, R. 1998. Length-weight relationships for 18 less-studied fish species. Journal of applied ichthyology, 14: 117-118.
- Wood, A. 2008. "Animal Life Resource" (On-line). Accessed April 09, 2008 at http://animals.jrank.org/pages/2212/Surgeonfishes-Relatives-Acanthuroidei-YELLOW-TANG-Zebrasoma-flavescens-SPECIES-ACCOUNTS.html.