We’ve been following the saga of Casper the White Tang for nearly six years now. As a long time resident at Worldwide Corals, Casper has truly grown into the team and the company’s mascot and spirit animal, and it’s always a pleasure to visit him when we are in Orlando, Florida.
Besides the huge standing crop of colorful, rare and exotic corals that people come to expect from Worldwide Corals, visitors to the retail shop always have to stop and check out Casper, and no doubt he has since become an international aquarium fish star. There’s a smattering of rare aberrant and tricolor tangs all over the world, many of which are unique and special in their own right, but there’s only one, white-as-a-cloud yellow tang like Casper.
We’ve photographed and filmed Casper repeatedly over the years, at every stage of its development. It seems, naturally, that Casper grows another 1/2 to 3/4 inch in size every time we see him, and for our most pilgrimage to the Worldwide Corals retail store, and we’d estimate that he’s not pushing just about five inches long from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail.
At about five inches of length, Zebrasoma surgeonfish start showing a patch of rough bristles just in front of their tail spine. The size and roughness of the patch has some variance across species, and large mature female Zebrasoma can show this bristly patch to some degree, but there’s no mistaking a large noticeable patch for anything other than a male.
With these qualifiers in mind, it’s safe to say that Casper is a girl! We had the good fortune of shooting a great macro closeup of Casper’s angelic white tail and there’s no doubt that Casper’s rear flank is nothing but pearly white scales, with not even an imaginary bristle in sight.
Just to be sure, and for a nice splash of contrast, we also photographed Worldwide Corals’ studly large black tang in their other large sprawling reef tank. This Zebrasoma rostratum specimen is one of the nicest we’ve ever seen, with great shape, dark coloration sans that ugly silver streak they sometimes get, and a large noticeable patch of bristles in front of his tail spine.
Casper the White Tang has held a special place in many reefers’ hearts ever since she made her aquarium debut nearly six years ago as a two inch long Hawaiian minnow. In that time she has grown and matured into one of the most stupendous specimens of any surgeonfish.
Every feature, every fin, spine, scale and gills are simply exquisite on this fish and it seems to be only getting better with age. It’s been a real treat to revisit Casper over and over again throughout the years and we look forward to seeing her parading around the Worldwide Corals reef tanks for a long time to come.