© Johan Boshoff

Common family name


Scientific name



Up to 30 cm, average 18 cm.


Disk-shaped body with a pointed snout. Large, continuous dorsal and anal fins. Have a sharp spine (tang) on the caudal peduncle (tail base) like other surgeons. Caudal fin is truncated. Colouration differs from dark brown to bright yellow.

General Information

Zebrasoma genus consists of 7 species. From the family of Surgeonfish. Found over coral reefs in pairs or small groups. Will use spine as protection when in danger – cut can be venomous. The dorsal and anal fins of juveniles are large in proportion to their bodies. Pelagic spawner.


Feeds on algae, detritus and plankton. Herbivores.


Occurs in all temperate and tropical oceans of the world.

Common species

Spotted tang - Zebrasoma gemmatum
Yellow tang - Zebrasoma flavescens
Yellowtail tang - Zebrasoma xanthurum

© Johan Boshoff