Fishy Feature:

“Dory” made them famous, and Key Largo brings them to life! The Caribbean Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus, is one of 3 members to the family of surgeon fish that frequent our tropical waters. If you’ve seen Finding Nemo or Finding Dory, you’re probably curious about this famous fish. But our Caribbean Tangs are a little bit different from Dory, who is a Pacific Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus).

Meet The Blue Tang

You can identify a Blue Tang easily by their flat, oval-shaped bodies, and powder-blue to dark purple coloring as adults. The colors vary until then, beginning as yellow juveniles and blue with yellow tail as a subadult. While Dory loved to travel, our local Blue Tangs like to stay put. They enjoy their shallow reefs and are often found in pairs all the way up to large schools swarming the reefs.

Blue Tangs spend their days grazing on a wide variety of algae in feeding groups that can number over 100! These swarms allow the fish to breach the defenses of the algae-farming Damselfishes. You will often find Midnight Parrotfish traveling with the tangs to feed while meandering the reef as well. The little nipping attacks of the Damselfish are no match for this horde of invaders. The feeding throng then travels along the reef occasionally descending into another Damselfish algae farm to find their lunch. They also are known to act as cleaning station fish for a meal–most commonly cleaning parasites from the shell and body of Green Sea Turtles.

When you dive keep your eyes out for these local stars on the reef. They are cautious but will pose for a short while for your photo opportunity. If you move slowly you can even make your way through their school for a unique viewpoint as the fish surround you! Snorkelers and divers alike can enjoy interacting with these beautiful members of our reef ecosystem. Book your next tour and let our guides point out these and many more reef fish on the living coral reef!

Schooling blue tang search for a feeding spot Blue tangBlue tang

Fishy Feature: “Dory” your local Blue Tang!
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