First feeding yellow tang larva shipped to the University of Florida from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Dr. Tom Waltzek of the University of Florida has been instrumental in helping us identify the species received from our collaborators. Bags full of eggs with no names is sometimes tough to work with. Early on, we would do our best to sort out a handful of eggs or larvae that we believed were the same species. Our goal was to give Tom enough material to work with. Then, Dr. Tom shocked us when he was able to give us an identification from a single larva. We took a photograph of a single larva, preserved it, and sent it to Tom. This technique is amazing in itself and affords a better picture of what is happening in the lab. These results also showed us that we had a new species in our midst. The yellow tang, Zebrasoma flavescens, has been the target of numerous environmental campaigns against the aquarium industry. To raise this fish would be an amazing accomplishment toward stewardship of our oceans and aquariums. Dr. Chalres Laidley and his group in Hawaii have focused their research on yellow tangs for a number of years and have made great strides toward this goal.
Matthew L. Wittenrich
Senior Biological Scientist
Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory | University of Florida