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Gem tang

Zebrasoma gemmatum

Description: The Gem tang is dark bluish-black covered with yellow dots (sometimes less round and more horizontally elongated). The genus is characteristically disc-like, body is oval-shaped, laterally compressed; the snout is pointed. The pectoral fins and tail are yellow; the white-spotted tail is sometimes rather clear. Like other tangs, a spine is located on each side of the caudal penduncle, which are used as defense weapons. The dorsal and anal fins are quite large and sail-like. Sexes are similar.

Size: They range between 6.7-8.7 inches (17 – 22 cm) in length.

Behavior: These solitary fish are aggressive and territorial; pair or group when spawning. This species is quite rare and inhabit deeper water; very little information is available.

Diet: They are mainly herbivores, constantly nibbling on filament and benthic algae with their pointed snout.

Reproduction: Gametes are released as pair or more fish rise toward the surface, where planktonic larvae drift for an undefinite period of time.

Habitat/range: This uniquely spotted species is found in coral and rocky reefs (adults in deep water, juveniles in shallow areas). Found in western Indian Ocean: South Africa, Madagascar, Mauritius and Reunion.

Status: Listed as Data Deficient by IUCN.