SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium Welcomes New Wave of Yellow Tangs

Filed under: Florida News,Orlando Attractions |


SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium has welcomed a new group of yellow tangs, also known surgeon fish (Zebrasoma flavescens), who were bred entirely in captivity. This group of yellow tangs is among the first of its kind as the result of a breakthrough in captive breeding technology by the Oceanic Institute of Hawaii.

The Finfish Research Group at the Oceanic Institute aims to reduce pressure on wildlife populations and maintain the ocean’s fragile ecosystems by developing environmentally friendly research technologies in broodstock, live feeds and hatchery-based production methods for marine species. These efforts help the Oceanic Institute move towards its goal of rearing marine wildlife rather than harvesting from oceans.

The new arrivals are featured in a habitat that is eye-level with young visitors, who can watch the tangs eat and swim all day long. The aquarium is already home to blue tangs, the celebrity cousins of the yellow tangs, as well as their famous friends, the clownfish.

“We are excited for our guests to see and learn about these new captive-bred yellow tangs,” said SEA LIFE Orlando Curator Andrew Nerness. “Our mission has always been focused on educational initiatives and conservation efforts of the oceans of the world, and the technology from this new captive breeding program helps us to achieve both of these goals in a sustainable fashion.”

Fun Facts about the yellow tangs at SEA LIFE Orlando:

  • Tangs are herbivores who eat plant matter. They are a key species for a reef’s ecosystem as they clean the algae of corals as they eat.
  • Tangs are fed nori seaweed, they pick at it through the day, which mimics their natural feeding behavior.
  • Tangs are diurnal, they are awake during the day and sleep at night.
  • While fish memory is considered short term, like a human, they are capable of remembering
  • Yellow tangs schools swim together in groups as a defense strategy in the wild.
  • The white spot at the base of the tail of the yellow tang is actually a sharp scalpel they use for defense and aggression, which gives them their other name as the surgeon fish.
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