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Adults inhabit coral-rich areas of lagoon and seaward reefs from below the surge zone to about 46 m (Ref. 9710). Benthopelagic over rock at 1-81 m (Ref. 58302). They occur singly or in loose groups. Mainly herbivorous, browsing on filamentous algae. Group spawning and pair-spawning by territorial males that court passing females were observed. Spawning activity occurs around the full moon indicating lunar periodicity (Ref. 86544). Spawn in batches throughout the year (Ref. 86544). Presence of a venom gland could not be determined despite the presence of distinct anterolateral grooves; this may be due to the loss of venom glands in adults (Ref. 57406). A popular aquarium fish and the top marine fish export from Hawaii.
Pacific Ocean: Ryukyu, Mariana, Marshall, Marcus, Wake and Hawaiian islands. Has been reported off the coast of Florida in the Western Central Atlantic (Ref. 51238).
Yellow tangs in their natural habitat in Kona
It is commonly found in shallow reefs, from 2–46 metres (6.6–151 ft) deep, in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, west of Hawaii and east of Japan. Hawaii is the most common place for aquarium harvesting, where up to 70% of the yellow tangs for the aquarium industry are sourced from.
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