THE TANG OF THE BAHAMIAN SEAS… BLUE TANG, IN FACT


Blue Tang School ©Melinda Riger @ G B Scuba copy

THE TANG OF THE BAHAMIAN SEAS… BLUE TANG, IN FACT 

The Blue Tang Acanthurus coeruleus is a species of Atlantic surgeonfish mostly found on coral reefs. They are known as surgeonfish because they can slice you with their sharp, spiny caudal fins. Adults are blue, ranging from a deep blue or even purplish to much paler blue.fish28Blue Tang ©Melinda Riga @ G B ScubaBlue Tang ©Melinda Riger @ GB Scuba

Surprisingly, as juveniles, Blue Tang are bright yellow.Blue Tang (juv) © Melinda Riger @ Grand Bahama Scuba Blue Tang (juv yellow form) © Melinda Riger @ G B Scuba

As they grow, they become blue, with the tail being the last part to lose the yellow.Blue Tang (Juvenile) ©Melinda Riger@ G B Scuba Blue Tang (juv, changing colour) © Melinda Riger @ G B Scuba

Blue Tang are herbivores, cruising constantly round reefs feeding on algae. They also act as cleaners of other fish species, removing parasites. They themselves may be cleaned by gobies by visiting so-called ‘cleaning stations’. These piscine beauty parlours have a medicinal purpose as well, since cleaning helps to cure minor wounds.

These fish often move around reefs in large schools, as shown in the header image. Apart from having some value as an aquarium fish, they are not generally of use to humans. Their spiny caudal fins can cause a nasty wound. They have an unpleasant smell. Their flesh supposedly contains toxins, and they carrying a risk of the disease CIGUATERA. I can’t even find a recipe for them online – now, that is a bad sign, there are some people who will try anything. I guess best to boil them for an hour or two, drain the water, allow to cool, and throw away the fish.

FUN FACT In the Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo, the character Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) is a blue tang.

Blue Tang, Abaco fish22

BLUE TANG: THE MOVIE [RE-RELEASE]

“RECIPE Take one incompetent swimmer who hasn’t snorkelled in, oh, nearly 40 years. Place him over a coral reef for his first time ever. Add a small underwater camera totally alien to him. Immerse for 30 minutes in warm briny water. Lessons have been learnt for next time. Mainly, don’t keep waving the camera about; let the fish move round you rather than vice versa; and most important of all, remember to keep breathing or else…

Here is BLUE TANG: THE MOVIE (music by Adrian Legg), 45 secs of advanced camera-shake with some beautiful fish more or less in shot for most of the time. If you are prone to sea-sickness, do not enlarge the video. If you are allergic to poor photography… well, thanks for visiting.”

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/44794952]

Credits: Good pictures, Melinda; bad pictures and execrable movie, not Melinda

4 thoughts on “THE TANG OF THE BAHAMIAN SEAS… BLUE TANG, IN FACT

    • Not silly at all, EST. The basic A to your Q is that they are sensitive to ‘warm’ and (especially) unnaturally cold water, which occasionally kills fish around Abaco (e.g. bonefish) in rare prolonged cold spells. Also influenced by the moon’s cycle, tides, and day length, so maybe they experience something more like monthly ‘seasons’. And then there’s their (ahem!) spawning season (generally autumn). And, though they don’t know it, there’s the human’s closed season (autumn / winter) for fishing for many species (not just for salmon & brown trout in the UK). That could all be wrong though – who knows, with fish? RH PS Bees OK?

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  1. Great movie, RH! Thanks for you sharing all this wonderful colourful, happymaking lovely creatures with us. Are you still there? Don’t you miss Devon in winter?? Flooded streets included?
    Have a great time!
    Greetings from warm-coldish Norfolk
    Dina

    LOL: “Credits: Good pictures, Melinda; bad pictures and execrable movie, not Melinda” 🙂

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    • Cute fish, eh Dina? Fun to swim with. In London at the moment, with much the same dreary weather as you, I guess! But plenty of early signs of Spring now… Is Cley still roped off as a precaution? Take care, RH.

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