Palette Surgeonfish (a.k.a. Pacific Blue Tang or Yellowtail Surgeonfish)
Paracanthurus hepatus

Photo
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Range and habitat:
This species is found throughout the Indo-Pacific region from East Africa to Kiribati, north to southern Japan and south to the southern Great Barrier Reef. They're usually found around heads of finger coral, where they can hide from predators.

Natural diet:
The palette surgeonfish eats zooplankton and some algae

Size / weight range:
This fish grows to be 12 inches long.

Interesting facts:
Surgeonfish get their name for the sharp “scalpel” they have at the base of their tail fin. They can flip their tail back and forth and use it as a weapon against other fish. Some researchers believe that the tail spine of this species actually carries venom as well. Although not common in any one area, this species has such a wide range that the IUCN does not consider them in danger at the present time. However, this species was depicted in a very popular movie (as Dory in Disney / PIXAR's Finding Nemo) and there is some concern that because of this, they are becoming rare due to over-collection for home aquariums.

Location at The Toledo Zoo:
Aquarium

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