hawaiisfishes.com

Jason Crowder

PALETTE TANG
Paracanthurus hepatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
   This bright blue surgeonfish with black marks reminiscent of an artist's palette is not normally found in Hawaii. However, it is often imported via the aquarium trade. On the reef, these fish typically live in groups that aggregate above heads of branching coral. When disturbed, they all dive in, much like the Hawaiian Dascyllus. Solitary individuals have been reported a number of times from Oahu and Maui. These have usually been considered aquarium releases because of their proximity to populated areas. However, the individual above was found about a mile offshore of Makua, Oahu, far from the city. It probably drifted in naturally in larval form and grew to adulthood, sheltering in several large heads of Antler Coral (Pocillopora eydouxi). Perhaps some of the other Oahu and Maui fish arrived naturally as well. The species occurs from East Africa all the way to southern Japan, the Line Islands, and French Polynesia. Photo: Jason Crowder. Makua, Oahu, 60 ft.

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Text and photos copyright by John P. Hoover