Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Dragon Sensory Hours: The dragons will be asleep from 2 to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Yellow Tang

Zebrasome flavescens

The yellow tang is easily distinguishable because of its bright yellow color! The yellow tang can grow to about 8 inches and is most commonly found near the islands of Hawaii.

Range & Habitat

In the Wild: Range includes the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, however over 70 percent of this species is found in the waters just west of Hawaii in shallow reef areas.

At the Zoo: Aquariums Reef Tank

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Yellow tangs are often taken from their habitat for the pet trade.


In the Wild:  Browses on filamentous algae and invertebrates

At the Zoo:  Frozen mysis and brine shrimp as well as dried sea algae

Life Span

In the Wild: up to 30 years.
In Human Care: 5-10 years

Fun Facts about the Yellow Tang

  •  Yellow tangs are algae feeders that play a crucial role in coral reef ecosystems. By keeping algae in check, they prevent fast growing seaweeds from choking out the slower growing corals.
  •  Yellow tangs have a scalpel-like spine near their tails to protect themselves.
  •  Yellow tangs also help sea turtles by eating algae growths off their shells.


Berkshire Museum. (2021). What's it Like to Hang with the Yellow Tang? Retrieved February 7, 2021, from

Georgia Aquarium. (2021). Yellow Tang. Retrieved February 7, 2021, from

Waikiki Aquarium. (n.d.).  Yellow Tang.  Retrieved February 7, 2021, from

Updated June 13, 2023
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