Common name: Brown Tang
Synonyms and Other Names: brushtail tang, twotone tang
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: Deeply compressed body with protruding snout. Black to brown body with pale-green longitudinal lines becoming dots towards the head and caudal fin. Juvenile coloration may be lighter with yellowish bars and whitish shading towards the head. Pectoral fin might be dull reddish-brown (Robertson 1983). Dorsal fin more elevated in juveniles than adults. White caudal spine apparent in adults. Sometimes called brushtail tang or twotone tang. Dorsal fin IV-V (23-25) anal fin III (19-21). From Randall (2001).
Similar species: No Atlantic surgeonfish is similarly colored.
Native Range: The species is distributed in the Indian and Pacific oceans from East Africa to the Pitcairn Islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe and Rapa islands (Randall 2005).
In December 2008, a single specimen was observed on a reef just offshore of Datura Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Lad Akins, personal communication).
Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Zebrasoma scopas are found here.
Table last updated 11/29/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: The brown tang inhabits intertidal and subtidal reef slopes. The diet consists primarily of fleshy benthic red microalgae. Pairs of adults will defend joint feeding territories similar to other Zebrasoma spp. In the Pacific, the species reproduced from February to April, whereas in the Indian ocean they were observed to reproduce from August to December. Individuals change color and engage in courtship in and away from the reef edge. From Robertson (1983).
Means of Introduction: Aquarium release.
Status: Reported from Florida.
Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.
References: (click for full references)
Allen, G., R. Steene, P. Humann, and N. Deloach. 2003. Reef Fish Identification Tropical Pacific. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL.
Randall, J. E. 2001. Acanthuridae. Surgeonfishes (tangs, unicornfishes). Pages 3653-3683 in Carpenter, K.E., and V. Niem, eds. FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles. FAO, Rome.
Randall, J. E. 2005. Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu.
Robertson, D. R. 1983. On the spawning behavior and spawning cycles of eight surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae) from the Indo-Pacific. Environmental Biology of Fishes 9: 193-223
Revision Date: 3/18/2021
Peer Review Date: 6/15/2009
Schofield, P.J., 2023, Zebrasoma scopas (Cuvier, 1829): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2797, Revision Date: 3/18/2021, Peer Review Date: 6/15/2009, Access Date: 11/29/2023
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.