Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Acanthuridae (Surgeonfishes, Tangs, Unicornfishes)

Genus/species: Zebrasoma veliferum 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Pointed snout, tall dorsal and anal fins. Body has white bars alternate with grey/brown bars with pale bands. Juveniles have alternating yellow and black bars.

Length up to 40 cm (15.75 inches).

Pacific Sailfin tang4714776743_4d5d4776b8_b

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Pacific Ocean in Lagoons or outer reefs to 45 m (150 ft). Solitary or in small groups.

DIET IN THE WILD: Small leafy algae growing around rock and coral.

REPRODUCTION: Spawn in pairs and groups. Larvae drift.

PREDATORS: Relatively long-lived, to about 25 years; eaten by sharks and other fishes.


REMARKS: The sharp spine on the caudal peduncle has the capability of inflicting deep, painful wounds to a person trying to grasp one of these fish live. Furthermore, this species is ciguatoxic and can be poisonous to humans if eaten. Finally, the mycobacterioses carried by Z. veliferum are potential zoonoses that can cause skin infections and lesions in humans.


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