Flagtail Surgeon Fish Essay

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Flagtail Surgeons, Paracanthurus hepatus, are identified by their bright blue coloring, oval bodies and yellow, flag-shaped tails. Adults have a narrow line of dark blue along their dorsal fin that curves back at the tail. Coloration changes as Flagtail Surgeons mature. Juvenile blue tangs are bright yellow with blue spots by their eyes, and their fins have light blue tips. Their bodies become blue as they mature (Thurston 2011). Adult Flagtail Surgeonfish typically weigh around 600 grams and are 12 to 38 centimeters long (Bradford 2016). Surgeonfish get their name from the scalpel-like spines along the top and bottom of their bodies. These fish have venomous spine at the base of their caudal fin to protect themselves from predators (Thurston…show more content…
These fish live in the Pacific Ocean, but they are also found in the Indian Ocean, from East Africa to Micronesia, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (2012). Their homes are the coral reefs that grow along the shores. These fish are very important to the lifecycle of the coral reef. They eat excess algae in the reef, which prevents the coral from suffocating (Frost 2016). These fish are somewhat social and are usually found in pairs or in small groups (10 to 12 members) of several different surgeonfish and tang (Bradford 2016). Flagtail Surgeons congregate in breeding groups, where females expel their eggs into the water above the coral, and the males expel sperm, and fertilization occurs externally (Thurston 2011). After spawning the adults swim off, never caring for their offspring. Flagtail Surgeonfish conservation status is listed as least concern (IUCN 2012). These fish have become incresingly popular due to the films “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory”. Although there is no evidence of population decline thus far, increased demand will cause more fish to be caught, which will decrease populations because there has been no record of successful breeding in captivity (Bradford

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