The Sailfin Tang is a distinctively banded fish with high dorsal and anal fins - hence its common name.
The Sailfin Tang can be recognised by its pointed snout, tall dorsal and anal fins, sharp spine on the caudal peduncle, and colouration.
Adults have broad dark bands on a whitish background. Thin yellow lines run through this dark and light banding. The head is white with a black bar through the eye, and yellow dots and lines. The tail is yellow with a blue-white margin.
It lives in association with coral reefs.
The species occurs throughout the Indo-West Pacific.
In Australia it is recorded from south-western to north-western Western Australia and the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.