Why are hippo tangs, called that?


I am a fish ecologist who works almost wholly with freshwater fish. I have a friend who writes science books for children and she has very quickly plumbed the depths of my ignorance on things fishy -- she asked why agile, beautiful, svelte, colorful "hippo tangs" share a name with a lumbering, drab, lumpish, mammal.

I've searched a bit, but find no reference to the reason for the name. So, I'm asking those who no doubt know a great deal more than me -- any ideas?


I have no idea, except that the fish's scientific name, Paracanthurus hepatus, might have borne enough resemblance to the word hippo. Maybe it just stuck. As you know from the Freshwater side, common names can be exceedingly ridiculous and often vary from one source to the next.

Stang Man

It's actually a blue surgeonfish also known as Blue pacific tang, And a few years back is when Hippo came along. Some scientist give names to certain fish and usally sticks with that fish. There are other fish too that have been named up to 12 different names It's when a new fish is discovered by a biologist or doctors or what knot if they find them and no one else has, guess what they get to call it what they want and sometimes the name can be partly the finders name in some aspect. I wish I would have listened to my parents back in Jr. High they told me that they would like to see me become a marine bioligist I learned at a very early age in freshwater keeping and had a lot of knowledge back then as a hobbist. I wish I had listened to them but as a rebel I was I didn't. Shame on me and now that I look back I could have been one of those people to name a creature on this earth!!!!!

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