Paracanthurus hepatus

Blue Tang | Blue Surgeonfish | Flag-tail Surgeonfish | Hepatus Tang | Indo-pacific Blue Tang | Palette Surgeonfish | Palette Tang | Regal Blue Surgeonfish | Wedgetailed Blue Tang
Paracanthurus hepatus
Paracanthurus hepatus, Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Photo: Rick Stuart-Smith
Paracanthurus hepatus
Paracanthurus hepatus, NSW, Australia, Photo: Ian Shaw
Paracanthurus hepatus
Paracanthurus hepatus, NSW, Australia, Photo: Rick Stuart-Smith
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Paracanthurus hepatus
Paracanthurus hepatus
Paracanthurus hepatus


Tropical Indo-Pacific


Bright blue, rounded body with a broad black stripe from eye to tail base then curving back to mid body, and bright yellow tail with dark upper and lower margins. Usually found near branching coral heads on reef flats, into which they retreat when approached.


Max Size: 31 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 19.9-30.7°C

Depth: 2-40 m

Habitat Generalization Index: 3.36

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Occurrence: Infrequent (4.1% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Several (5 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: Joe Shields