If you thought a gem tang was rare, just wait until you get a good look at this very unique surgeonfish just captured in Mauritius. At first glance the little Zebrasoma looks like a scopas tang, Zebrasoma scopas, but upon further inspection this is one surgeonfish that got a little Jungle Fever.
The newly collected tang is dark in body, but it has the lighter anterior region and head and is peppered with little yellow spots all over like the holy grail surgeonfish Zebrasoma gemmatum. Another neat feature of the supposed gem x scopas hybrid tang is that it has the tall and flowing dorsal fins of a scopas tang, where a gem tang this size would already have developed a more rounded out shape.
It’s hard to say how this one of a kind gem tang hybrid will develop with age but it won’t get as large as a dinner plate like gem tangs can do, and might retain its smaller more aquarium-size for much longer than a pure-blooded gem tang. Furthermore, as gem tangs grow their spots can grow more numerous and indistinct while we have high hopes that this particular specimen will hit that sweet spot of medium size and perfect spotting as an adult aquarium specimen.
The beauty of hybrid fish is that there’s no telling exactly how the resulting offspring will develop the features of its parent fish. But no matter what this hybrid gem x scopas tang does as it grows, it will be one of the rarest and most unique marine aquarium fish we have reported on in a very long time.