Also known as the Elegant tang, or Indian orangespine unicornfish, the Blond naso is a member of the surgeonfish family. Two bright orange spines can be seen extending from the base of the tail. These spines are said to be “as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel”, hence the name surgeonfish. This species was once thought to be a different color variety of the Lipstick tang, Naso lituratus, but is now considered its own species. The Blond naso is primarily a herbivore and can be found in coral reefs throughout the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea.
While many surgeonfish draw attention with brilliant colors, this gray fish stands out for its bizarre shape, appearing as if it had a “nose”. Feeding on algae and plankton in the wild, it enjoys lettuce and other leafy greens in aquariums. It can be found in schools from the Red Sea to many islands in the Pacific, including Hawaii, where it is a traditional food fish. Like other surgeonfish, it has defensive “scalpels” on its tail, but they are especially noticeable with this species because they are blue.