Atlantic Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus

Image Caption: Atlantic Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus. Credit: Wikipedia

The Atlantic Blue Tang (Acanthurus coeruleus), also known as the Atlantic Blue Tang Surgeonfish, is a species of surgeonfish commonly found in the Atlantic Ocean. It is found off the coast of Florida, the Bahamas, and other places around the Caribbean Sea, including Bonaire. It is very common in Belize, and particularly around Ambergis Caye. It is also found in the Gulf of Mexico and south toward Brazil and north to New York.

This reef fish can vary in color from light to dark blue, although its dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are golden blue in color. In the juvenile, the edges on the dorsal and anal fins are purple-blue, blue or blue-green, as are the rings around the eyes. The juvenile may also be larger than adults and are called Atlantic Yellow Tang Surgeonfish until they reach adulthood. Colors change during growth, from a yellow juvenile to a blue adult.

This fish is often caught in commercial fishing, but is of little importance in the Caribbean industry. It can be used as bait, although rarely is. Its commercial value is low.

The Atlantic Blue Tang gives off a pungent odor when threatened or handled. Ciguatera poisoning can occur if the flesh is consumed. The caudal spine on the adult is very sharp, but is only visible when the fish experiences excitement of some form. These fins can cut deep into human skin and have been known to cause infection, mainly characterized by swelling and discoloration. Pain can occur and last for long periods of time, sometimes hours.

Image Caption: Atlantic Blue Tang, Acanthurus coeruleus. Credit: Wikipedia