The orange, heel-shaped spot near the base of the tail of the Achilles tang recalls the Greek hero Achilles, but to think that, like Achilles, this is his weak spot would be a mistake, as this is where the Achilles tang conceals his weapons – razor-sharp spines that fit into little slots on either side, and operate like retractable switchblades, flicking out and slashing at predators and competitors. This fish has some interesting powers to alter his appearance. If irritated, the body can take on a red glow, and sometimes a white patch develops on the chest and a white ring around the eye. And when it is time for grooming, the Achilles can lighten his body to make pieces of flesh or parasites more visible for the cleaner fish or shrimp to find. The Achilles tang is also known as the redtail surgeonfish and as Paku‘iku‘i in Hawaii, which refers to a method of fishing that involves beating the surface of the water to scare the fish into a net – brilliant! Hawaiians incorporated the harvested blades into fishing lures in addition to using the fish for food.
The Achilles tang is oval shaped with a highly compressed, blue-black body, sporting brilliant orange and white highlights around the anal, dorsal and caudal fins, and white markings on the gill covers. Growing up to 24 cm, this commonly aggressive fish can be found in clear seaward reefs throughout Hawai’i, Polynesia and Micronesia. His comblike teeth are used to feed on algae, playing a crucial role in protecting the coral reefs ecosystem by keeping the algae growth in check.
• Rubber sole
• Customizable 100% polyester fabric lining
• Black Y-shaped rubber straps