Acanthurus polyzona is a very seldom seen fish that closely resembles the obscenely common Acanthurus triostegus, more commonly known as the Convict Tang. Unlike the Convict Tang, A. polyzona is a Western Indian Ocean species and can be found in Mauritius, Madagascar, the Reunion islands and surrounding locales. Divergence and speciation probably accounted for the stark similarity in the two species and the un-overlapping ranges, as can also be seen in many reef fishes.
Acanthurus polyzona is a beautiful species of surgeonfish which has more vertical barring compared to the ubiquitous Convict Tang. The barring is thicker, and the fish also sports the occasional exotic facial markings as seen in the picture above. Despite the frequent collection of Mauritius fishes such as the Gem Tang, the very recent Piscilineatus flasher wrasse and a whole bunch of other new Mauritius fishes, we hardly ever see any A. polyzona being offered for sale. In fact, there hasn’t been any offered in the recent years as far as we know. It’s a shame that this very cool fish is overlooked in the wild, where it probably is pretty common. We hope to see some of these the next time a shipment from Mauritius is due.