A Splash of Color – The Unmistakable Charms of the Purple Tang
The Purple Tang is not just another fish in the sea. It comes with a unique set of characteristics that make it stand out in the crowd – or in this case, the school. Growing to a maximum length of near 25 cm (9.8 in), Purple Tangs are purple in color with a yellow tail, hence their name. Their heads are covered with black spots, and black horizontal lines run down the sides of some specimens. The center of their bodies can sometimes be a darker color of purple relative to the rest of their bodies. On most specimens, the tips of their pectoral fins are yellow.
Like all members of the Zebrasoma genus, Purple Tangs have large dorsal and anal fins and an extended snout that is used to forage for algae within rocks. When the dorsal and anal fins are fully extended, the fish looks like a disk. As typical of all surgeonfish, Purple Tangs have sharp spines on each side of their caudal peduncle, which are used for defense.