Tail less fish are surprisingly more common in saltwater fish than you would think but this kind of amputation doesn’t seem to bother certain fish like the gorgeous near-adult scopas tang pictured here. This disabled Zebrasoma scopas was collected in the Philippines and scooped up by Aqua-Gift in Japan where they list a common scopas tang for a street price of around $100, but we suspect this guy will go for a modest premium.
The absence of a tail in marine fish is a unique phenomenon which is thought to be the result of partial predation when fish are young yet somehow, plucky fish can sometimes grow and survive to near adulthood even without this important ‘limb’. Curiously, the preponderance of tail less fish we see collected for the aquarium hobby usually involve species with copious dorsal and anal fins which help to offset the missing fin so we don’t find any wrasses or anthias going about their lives without this important part of their body.
Unlike blood parrot cichlids in freshwater aquariums who have their tails amputated to make them appear ‘cute’, the marine fish without tails are a natural phenomenon and as evidenced by their lack of a scar, happened long ago in their lives, and fish have adapted to using their other fins to get around. Tail-less marine fish are not for everyone and we neither endorse or admonish them, but they can make for a very unique fish specimen which is perfectly exemplified by the vertically gifted scopas tang which is taller than it is long.