Habitat and Ecology
The sexes are separate among the acanthurids (Reeson 1983). Acanthurids do not display obvious sexual dimorphism, males assume courtship colours (J.H. Choat pers. comm. 2010).
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Zebrasoma desjardinii
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Zebrasoma desjardinii
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
In the Nabq Managed Resource Protected Area, South Sinai, Egyptian Red Sea, mean abundances of this species showed differences at various depths and between no-take zones (NTZ) and take zones (TZ). At 1 m depth of the NTZ, mean abundance was recorded at 3.33 while in the TZ it was 0.83. At 3 m depth of the NTZ, mean abundance was recorded at 5.17 while in the TZ it was 3.38. At 10 m depth of the NTZ, mean abundance was recorded at 0.75 and 1.71 in the TZ (Ashworth & Ormond, 2005).
The greater abundance of the Acanthuridae in the fished area than in the NTZ across 3 and 10 m depths, can be attributed to a result of reduced predation or competition (Ashworth and Ormond 2005).
Surgeonfishes show varying degrees of habitat preference and utilization of coral reef habitats, with some species spending the majority of their life stages on coral reef while others primarily utilize seagrass beds, mangroves, algal beds, and /or rocky reefs. The majority of surgeonfishes are exclusively found on coral reef habitat, and of these, approximately 80% are experiencing a greater than 30% loss of coral reef area and degradation of coral reef habitat quality across their distributions. However, more research is needed to understand the long-term effects of coral reef habitat loss and degradation on these species' populations. Widespread coral reef loss and declining habitat conditions are particularly worrying for species that recruit into areas with live coral cover, especially as studies have shown that protection of pristine habitats facilitate the persistence of adult populations in species that have spatially separated adult and juvenile habitats (Comeros-Raynal et al. 2012).
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Red Sea sailfin tang
Zebrasoma desjardinii grows to a maximum length of 40 cm (16 in), with a sexual dimorphism, as males being larger than females. This species shows the typical morphology of the family Acanthuridae. The body is oval or disc-shaped, with erectile and much elevated dorsal and anal fins. The coloration may vary from one individual to another and within the same individual, depending on age. In general, the upper side of the body alternates orange and dark blue vertical bands, with a larger blue band on the eyes, a spotted ventral region and numerous white spots on the head. The dorsal and anal fins have a pattern of horizontal alternate orange and blue bands. The caudal fin shows white spots and lines.
Like most surgeonfish on each side of the caudal fin, in the middle of the caudal peduncle, there is a defensive dark spine surrounded by a blue zone. This spine is hinged and may unfolds to 80°.
In respect of Zebrasoma veliferum, adult Red Sea Sailfin tang has a few less anal fin rays (22-24 instead of 23-26) and different marking on the tail. As a juvenile, they are almost indistinguishable in color and markings.
Adults usually can be found in pairs, while juveniles are solitary. When threatened, these fishes display their large ventral and dorsal fins. They feed primarily on filamentous algae, various macroalgae and plankton. They are pair spawners, a typical trait of other fish in the Zebrasoma genus. This differs from the group spawning typical of the Acanthuridae family.
Red Sea sailfin tangs natively live in lagoons and reefs in a tropical climate. The juvenile fishes live in the inner reef areas. They prefer saltwater with a specific gravity of 1.020 - 1.025, a pH between 8.1 and 8.4 and an ideal temperature range of 22 - 26 C (72 - 78 F). They may live at water depths of 2 – 30 m (6.5 – 100 ft) or more.
- Sprung, Julian y Delbeek, J.Charles. - The Reef Aquarium. Ricordea Publishing. 1994.
- Debelius, Helmut y Baensch, Hans A. Atlas Marino. Mergus. 1997.
- Michael, Scott W. (en inglés) Reef aquarium fishes. Microcosm.T.F.H. 2005.
- Nilsen, A.J. y Fossa, S.A. - Reef Secrets. TFH Publications .2002.