Why do tangs mimic angels?

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mandy21

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May 16, 2006
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I know they're called that and i think it's simply because they look similar. I could be wrong, but like I said, I haven't read anything in my massive amount of reading that would suggest otherwise.
 

Amphiprion

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Feb 14, 2007
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It is an adaptation for them, in the same sort as juvenile angels. The idea behind it is to reduce aggression due to competition. As you may already know, tangs are quite aggressive, especially adults. Because of this, it is advantageous for juveniles to have a different coloration than adults so that the adults don't "recognize" the juveniles for what they are--the same species. If they don't recognize them, the chances of aggression are lower (due to the adult not perceiving the juvenile as competition) and therefore survival for the juvenile is higher. Obviously, not all tangs are subject to this pressure nor did the others gain the opportunity for the same mutation. Just one fascinating portion of evolution for you.

That is the main theory, anyway. It could also be argued that the angels may not be as palatable due to their opercular spines, but tangs possess just as formidable a defense, so the former theory is the most likely.
 

mcsassy

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So it looks like an angel and angels don't attack it?
 

Amphiprion

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So it looks like an angel and angels don't attack it?
They won't be quite as aggressive in the wild as they are in the aquarium--tangs are still aggressive in the wild. They also fill slightly different niches, so there is already somewhat less likely aggression from angels to begin with.
In any case, it seems to have proven advantageous for the mimic tang juveniles.

As far as the Kansas Board of Education thing goes, don't get me started :).
 

Dustin83

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Nov 17, 2005
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It is an adaptation for them, in the same sort as juvenile angels. The idea behind it is to reduce aggression due to competition. As you may already know, tangs are quite aggressive, especially adults. Because of this, it is advantageous for juveniles to have a different coloration than adults so that the adults don't "recognize" the juveniles for what they are--the same species. If they don't recognize them, the chances of aggression are lower (due to the adult not perceiving the juvenile as competition) and therefore survival for the juvenile is higher. Obviously, not all tangs are subject to this pressure nor did the others gain the opportunity for the same mutation. Just one fascinating portion of evolution for you.

That is the main theory, anyway. It could also be argued that the angels may not be as palatable due to their opercular spines, but tangs possess just as formidable a defense, so the former theory is the most likely.
:dance2: Never knew that but totally makes sense!
 

Reefscape

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Usually the juvi tang mimic a dwarf angel (lemonpeel) as a form of protection while they are still young, as the dwarf angel's are known to be semi-agressive and spiney so they tend to get left alone..This gives the slow growing juvi tang a reletivly peacefull youth, protected by colour and free from most of the predators which normaly prey on small fish....

Hence the word Mimic Tang....
 

fsn77

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Feb 22, 2006
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You realize we're debating why nature does what it does based soley on names humans have assigned to fish?
So true, Grins... Someone when picking names for fish more or less assumed that this mimic coloration evolved in tangs because of the angel coloration, but it is also possible that the mimic coloration in those tangs evolved independently of the angel coloration.
 
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