Regal tang

Animal File

Coral reefs
Rocky reefs
Common Name:
Regal tang
Scientific Name:
Paracanthus hepatus
Size: Up to 50cm
Pacific, Indian
Africa, Australia
Conservation Status
Least concern

Regal tangs are bright blue in colouration with black accents and a yellow tail and are recognised by many as ‘Dory’ in Disney’s © Finding Nemo. Their black accent patterns represent an artist’s palette, hence it also being known as the palette tang. This species of tang has a flat, circular shaped body and a pointed snout-like nose.

Regal tangs are a member of the surgeonfish family – one of 75 members. The surgeon name derives from two sharp spines which are located on either side of their body at the base of the caudal fin. Venom glands located at the base of the spines pump poison through the spine when being used for defence. Regal tangs also use their spines to wedge themselves into coral reefs when alarmed. By having the spines extended it prevents them being pulled out of any hiding spaces.

Regal tangs feed primarily on plankton but adults will also graze on algae. Blue tangs (another common name for regal tangs) are hunted by tuna, tiger groupers and other large carnivorous fish.

This species of surgeon fish reach sexual maturity at 9-12 months and the event of spawning is indicated by a colour change from dark to pale blue. Eggs are small in size at less than 1cm and fertilised eggs hatch within one day.

The Oceanarium’s regal tangs are located in the Global Meltdown display and share a home with another member of the surgeon family, the yellow tang.

Children under 3 yrs FREE!! See other tickets

The health of our aquarium family, which includes our visitors, staff and animals, is our top priority. In light of the most recent advice from Public Health England and the government, we will be temporarily closing the Oceanarium Bournemouth effective immediately, until further notice.

We apologise for any disappointment and inconvenience caused.

Please be assured that our dedicated keeper team will continue to provide the best care for our animals during the closure.

If you’ve booked tickets for any day during this closure, you can exchange them for any other date in 2020 or we can provide a refund. Please send your booking details to

We’ll keep you informed through our website and social media channels. Thank you for your patience and we really look forward to welcoming you back to the Oceanarium when we re-open. Stay safe everyone.