Tiny Zebrasoma tangs aren’t much more than huge dorsal and anal fins with a tiny body sandwiched in the middle, and this is especially true of the sailfin tang. So oddly enough, this tailless Z. veliferum offerred by AquaGift in Japan doesn’t appear all that unusual.
While the aquarium hobby does seem to turn up a fair number of reef fish specimens without tails, it’s not hard to imagine how this deformity comes about. Little fish are at the highest risk of predation and it’s very plausible that in virtually all of these cases the juveniles of these tailless fish got their tails bitten off.
It’s not a surprise that the fish who seem to survive an amputated tail also have copious dorsal and anal fins like angelfish, tangs and butterflyfish. Tailless reef fish have character and spunk because you know they’ve persevered despite missing their all important rudder.
The appearance of this tailless sailfin tang should become more striking with age as its body grows into its adult size, when that missing tail will become more apparent. 19,800¥ (around $179) is a pretty reasonable price to pay for a fish that’s already had a colorful life but who will now no longer have to look over its shoulder in the peace and quiet of a home aquarium.