Yellow tang are a very long lived species and display the typical surgeonfish "square growth curve", with high initial growth rates that rapidly decrease after the first few years. Yellow tang are sexually size-dimorphic with males being larger than females. Males grow substantially faster than females starting around age 2 and this trend continues until the asymptotic size is approached (age 7 to 10 years). Adult males are typically 17 to 20 cm total length, while adult females are typically 14 to 17 cm total length.
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