It would seem that the rare white Zebrasoma flavescens tangs aren’t so rare after all, or at least not as rare as we once thought. Another one of these discolored oddballs has surfaced, this time by the efforts of Kona Clams, a collector based out of Hawaii. The discovery of this latest tang is part of a growing trend in fish collecting, at least for the time being. Several of these fish have been caught in recent months, and we can only speculate as to why there has been an increasing number of discolored individuals being collected. Perhaps collectors are more aware of these white tangs, or maybe their condition is becoming more prevalent in the local population. At this point, it’s still anyone’s guess, but you can at least enjoy these pictures until the answers are uncovered.
This particular individual was caught by Eric Koch of Oceanic Enterprises. Eric caught the tiny 2.5″ tang on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii only a few days ago. There’s no plans for the fish at the moment, except keeping it in the USA. This white yellow tang, and the several others caught before it, aren’t albino like most would think. Instead, their condition seems to affect a much smaller area of skin when the fish is young, progressing over the rest of the body as it gets older. Albino organisms usually exhibit a lack of pigmentation in one area of their bodies, or the entire body, but the discoloration doesn’t grow over time. Several have speculated that the cause of the skin color is genetic, while others claim environmental either via disease, toxin, or even a parasite. My bet is on genetic, but until actual scientific studies are done, it’s all still debatable.
More images seen below.