We see a lot of exciting things in our oceans but I had a very special encounter this week. I was out snorkelling on a reef, minding my own business, when a celebrity swam right past me. Now I’m not one for celeb spotting and am usually the last to recognise anyone interesting when I’m not wearing a snorkel. This famous face was instantly recognisable, even underwater, her blue colour, yellow tail and erratic swimming was unmistakable!
Dory is a Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) and is a beautiful fish to spot on or off the big screen. Here in the Maldives Blue Tangs are found in a few localised areas, they like to keep to themselves away from the limelight. We will make sure that they have their privacy on our reefs.
Blue Tangs in the Indian Ocean have a slight colour variation from those found in the Pacific. The underside of the body is a paler blue to white rather than the full bright blue of the Pacific fish. And this could mean that one is a subspecies of the other, but we’re waiting on the science to confirm this.
Like many movie stars the Blue Tang sticks to a strict diet. Only eating algae when on the reef. This helps remove excess algae and creates space for new corals to attach to the reef. This also prevents algae from growing on established corals and smothering them from sunlight. Blue Tangs are heroes everyday!