Tag Archive: tropical marine fishes

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum : Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes)

Genus/species: Pomacanthus paru

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: French Angelfish have tall, narrow bodies. and can turn quickly and maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt prey and avoid predators.

The most observable difference between angelfishes and butterflyfishes is the preopercule spine on the gill cover common to angelfishes. Bodies are covered in black scales except those at front from nape to abdomen, which are rimmed with golden-yellow. Adults have a broad orange-yellow bar at the base of their pectoral fins and have a dorsal filament that is yellow.

Juveniles are jet black with circular bright yellow bands.
Max length : 41 cm (16 inches), common length : 25.0 cm (10 inches).

Adult below




DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Atlantic: Florida, USA and Bahamas to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Eastern Atlantic: off Ascension Island to the west coasts of Africa in shallow reefs. 

Depth range 3 – 100 m (10-90 feet)

Juvenile below

French Angelfish


DIET IN THE WILD: P. paru are omnivores feeding on  sponges, algae, bryozoans, zoantharians, gorgonians and tunicates.

REPRODUCTION: French Angelfish are oviparous and monogamous. Spawning pairs are strongly territorial, with usually both members vigorously defending their areas against neighboring pairs.

CONSERVATION: IUCN; Least concern.

REMARKS: The tall, narrow bodies can turn quickly and maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt prey and avoid predators. They swim by rowing with their pectoral fins.

Juveniles tend cleaning stations where they service a broad range of clients, including jacks, snappers, morays, grunts, surgeonfishes, and wrasses. At the station the cleaner displays a fluttering swimming and when cleaning it touches the clients with its pelvic fins.

Ciguatera poisoning may rarely occur from eating French angelfishes.

Juvenile below


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018

fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/1118

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ADW animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Pomacanthus_paru/

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch likes)
Family: Chaetodontidae (Butterflyfishes)

Genus/species: Chaetodon aya

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: C. aya is a silver–white-colored fish with yellow on all fins except the pectoral fins. It also has vertical dark bars on its eyes and near its caudal fin and a broad dark bar sloping down and backward from middle of spiny dorsal fin to base of rear part of anal fin.

Bank butterflyfish Chaetodon aya,Chaetodontidae_RJD IMG_2745

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Central Atlantic: North Carolina and northeastern Gulf of Mexico to Yucatan in Mexico; unknown in Bahamas and Antilles. Found along deep offshore reefs, marine; depth range 20 – 170 m (65 – 550 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: Mouth small, terminal and protrusible with a band or rows of small brushlike teeth. Most Chaetodontidae feed on a combination of coelenterate polyps or tentacles, small invertebrates, fish eggs, and filamentous algae.

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous, Form pairs during breeding

CONSERVATION: IUCN, Least concern. (LC)


REMARKS: Is shaped to hover and navigate holes and crevices in the reef. It has a small protruding mouth and many small teeth in both jaws to reach and eat food items unavailable to many other fishes.

The vertical line going through the eye disguises the eye and makes it harder for a predator to figure out which is the front of the fish and which is the back, perhaps giving the butterflyfish a brief chance to escape while the predator hesitates.

Butterflyfish and angelfishes, have evolved bodies which are deep and laterally compressed like a pancake. Their pelvic and pectoral fins are designed differently, so they act together with the flattened body to optimise manoeuvrability.


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean Reef 2018


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fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/3601

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/165621/0

Phylum: Chordata
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes)

Genus/species: Holacanthus tricolor

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like their close relatives the butterflyfishes, they have a deep, laterally compressed body, a single and a unnotched dorsal fin. The most observable difference between the two families is the long spine at the corner of the preopercle common to angelfishes.

H. tricolor has a yellow anterior body with the remaining parts of body black. The caudal fin is entirely yellow.
Maximum length of approximately 12 inches (35 cm)


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Atlantic: Georgia (USA), Bermuda, and northern Gulf of Mexico to Santa Catarina, Brazil among rock jetties, rocky reefs and rich coral areas.    Depth range 3 – 92 m (10-300 ft)

DIET IN THE WILD: Rock Beauty Angelfish feeds on tunicates, sponges, zoantharians and algae.


REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Pair bonding suggests a monogamous relationship. Pairs usually consist of one small and one large fish as well. Pairs will spawn by slowly rising up in the water column while bringing their bellies close together, and releasing large amounts of eggs and sperm. A female can release anywhere from 25 to 75 thousand eggs each evening. This can total as many as ten million eggs for the duration of the spawning cycle. The eggs are transparent and pelagic, floating in the water column hatching in 15 to 20 hours becoming “pre-larval” angelfish attached to their large yolk sac. Has no functional fins, no eyes, or gut. After about 48 hours the yolk is absorbed developing into true larvae feeding on plankton. Growth is rapid and 3 to 4 weeks after hatching the fish will reach about 15-20 mm (0.6-0.8in) and will settle on the bottom.


REMARKS: Reports of ciguatera poisoning 


California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean reef fishes 2018

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fishbase  www.fishbase.org/summary/3610

EOL  eol.org/pages/995079/hierarchy_entries/44730320/details

Animal World  animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/angels/RockBeauty.php

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii  (ray-finned fishes) Order:
Perciformes  (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacanthidae  (Angelfishes)  

Genus/species:  Holacanthus ciliaris  

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Like their close relatives the butterflyfishes, they have a deep, laterally compressed body, a single, unnotched dorsal fin, and a small mouth with brushlike teeth.  The most observable difference between the two families is the long spine at the corner of the preopercle common to angelfishes.

H. ciliaris  is deep-bodied and strongly laterally compressed. Dorsal and anal fins trail. Juveniles have vertical blue bands on an orange-red body. As the fish grows, the bars increase in number before gradually disappearing. The color of large adults is purplish blue with yellow-orange rims to the scales; head above eye dark blue. They have a distinctive “crown” is speckled dark blue and surrounded by a ring of bright blue. Length to 45 cm (18 in), weight to 1.6 kg (3.5lbs).  

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Found in Bermuda, Florida, Bahamas, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico to Brazil on offshore reefs, 2-70+ m (6-200+ ft). Travel solitary or in pairs among sea fans, sea whips and corals.  

DIET IN THE WILD: Queen angelfish primarily feed on sponges and corals.; also algae, tunicates, hydroids and bryozoans. Juveniles glean ectoparasites from other fish.


Queen Angelfish

REPRODUCTION: Pairs reproduce bringing their bellies close together, and release sperm and 25 to 75 thousand eggs (10 million per spawning cycle).  The eggs are transparent, buoyant, and pelagic hatching after 15 to 20 hours into larvae with the yolk sac being absorbed after 48 hours.  The larvae then develop normal characteristics of free-swimming fish feeding on plankton and about 3–4 weeks after hatching the 15–20 millimetres (0.6–0.8 in) long juvenile settles on the bottom. Juveniles  are found among colonies of finger sponges and corals at the bottom of reefs for protection.




California Academy of Sciences, Steinhart Aquarium, Caribbean reef fishes 2018

fishbase  http://www.fishbase.org/summary/3609

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Kingdom:  Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Pectiformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Pomacanthidae (Angelfishes).

Genus/species: Centropyge bicolor

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: One of the  most striking of the Centropyge group of dwarf or pygmy angelfish.  The forebody is yellow with a blue saddle across its nape and the rearbody is blue with a bright yellow tailfin. They are distinguished from the similarly shaped butterflyfish by strong preopercle spines found on each of the lower gill covers of angelfishes.

Length up to 6 inches (15.2cm)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific in shallow, coral-rich reefs in rubble areas. Range 1 – 25 m (3-82 feet) deep.

DIET IN THE WILD: Varied diet algae, small crustaceans and worms.


MORTALITY/LONGEVITY; Average Lifespan of 12 years.

REPRODUCTION: As with other dwarf angels the Bicolor Angelfish are synchronous protogynic hermaphrodites. They start out sexually undifferentiated, develop into females, and with environmental influences will develop into males. Males are typically larger.

CONSERVATION : IUCN, Least concern

REMARKS: C. bicolor are very active darting from one hiding place to the next.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Color on the Reef 2016 AQA16

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Animal world  https://animal-world.com/encyclo/marine/angels/angels.php

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Anguilliformes (Eels and morays)
Family: Congridae (Conger and garden eels)
Subfamily: Heterocongrinae

Genus/species: Heteroconger hassi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The color is variable with tiny spots covering the body including three large black spots, two of which are usually visible. The third spot is on the anus, which is usually in the burro. The pectoral fins are minute.

Length up to 40 cm (16 in), body diameter of about 14 mm (1/2 in)

SPOTTED GARDEN EEL Heteroconger hassi FAM (Congridae) ,IMG_0193_2

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Society Islands. Found on sandy bottoms with some current near a reef at depths of 7–45 m (22-140 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD:  H. hassi feeds on microscopic animals in the water column.

REPRODUCTION: During mating season, males and females move their burrows closer together. With tails remaining in their burrows, they meet and entwine bodies. Males defend the females they have chosen. After mating the fertilized eggs are released into the current and float near the surface in the open ocean. The eggs hatch out and the larvae float until the eels are large enough to swim down and make a burrow.

Heteroconger hassi3302264315_77ea9161f9_b


REMARKS: Garden eels are usually found in colonies containing up to several hundred. The garden eel drives its pointy tail into the sand to create a burrow. Secretions from the skin harden and stabilize burrow sides. Part of the eel’s body remains in the burrow as it faces the current to feed. When approached, the animal withdraws into its burrow for protection.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Hidden Reef 2018

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fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/12619

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EOL eol.org/pages/205986/hierarchy_entries/44704953/details

Georgia Aquarium animalguide.georgiaaquarium.org/home/galleries/tropical-d…

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes  (Perch-likes)
Family: Labridae  (Wrasses)

Genus/species: Halichoeres richmondi

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: They have stunning horizontal chain like stripes going down the full length of their bodies. Male Richmond’s Wrasses tend to be more blue and green in color while females are more orange. Juvenile Richmond’s Wrasses have eye spots on their dorsal fins as well.

Length up to 17 cm (6.7 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Richmond’s Wrasse are found in the Western Pacific from Java to the Philippines inhabiting shallow lagoons and coral reefs, up to a depth of at least 20 m (65.5 feet).

REPRODUCTION: Pair during spawning

REMARKS: Wrasses are most easily identified by their pointed snouts and prominent canine teeth that protrude in front of the jaw. Other common characteristics include their form of propulsion, which depends mostly on the winglike motion of the pectoral fins with only an occasional burst of speed provided by the caudal fin.

CONSERVATION: IUCN least concern.


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California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Animal Attractions Rich Ross 2017

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fishbase www.fishbase.se/summary/Halichoeres-richmondi.html

IUCN www.iucnredlist.org/details/187507/0

EOL eol.org/pages/212051/details



Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Labridae (Wrasses)

Genus/species: Stethojulis bandanensis

Stethojulis bandanensisIMG_8597

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: The body is elongate and fusiform with a pointed head and small mouth. Primary phase individuals are brown with hundreds of tiny white specks, a white belly, yellowish cheeks, and an orange shoulder patch. Terminal males typically have a series of partial to complete longitudinal thin blue lines on their sides. Females mainly bluish grey with fine white spotting over upper sides and a small red spot at axil of pectoral fin. They have a blue-green on upper half and bluish below.

Length up to 15 cm (6 inches)

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Tropical Indo-Pacific: eastern Indian Ocean to western Australia, Found in shallow clear water of reef flats and lagoon and seaward reefs, in areas of mixed sand, rubble and coral. Depth 3-30m (10-100 feet).

DIET IN THE WILD: Zoobenthos ( small benthic invertebrates living on, in, or near the seabed, also known as the benthic zone)

REPRODUCTION: Oviparous with distinct pairing during breeding



California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 2016
Vetted J. Charles Delbeek, M.Sc.
Assistant Curator, Steinhart Aquarium

fishbase www.fishbase.se/summary/5640

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Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Labridae (Wrasses)

Genus/species: Cirrhilabrus rubrimarginatus


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Body shape is fusiform. The male is more brilliantly colored compared to the female and the juvenile, Has a red margin on both the tail and dorsal fin.

length up to 5 inchesRed-Margin Wrasse

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Western Pacific: north to the Ryukyu Islands, through the Philippines, Palau, and Indonesia. Adults found in deep coastal to outer reef drop-offs and steep slopes to 40 m (130 feet) or more, usually in loose aggregations.

CONSERVATION: IUCN; Least concern.

REMARKS: Fairy wrasses, along with 4 other closely related genera, have an unusual eye structure. The cornea is divided into two segments, basically forming a double pupil. It is theorized that the center pupil acts like a close-up lens to give the fish a clear view of its small prey. Fairy wrasses are active during the day, and sleep at night wedged into crevasses protected by a mucous cocoon they secrete around themselves.


California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 2016      Charles Delbeek, M.Sc  Assistant Curator, Steinhart Aquarium  California Academy of Sciences

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fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Cirrhilabrus-rubrimarginatus.html

EOL eol.org/pages/213476/hierarchy_entries/44698464/details

Reef Keeping  http://www.reefkeeping.com/issues/2003-01/hcs3/

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Labridae (Wrasses)

Genus/species: Halichoeres chloropterus


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Juveniles lime green; females pale green above and white below, with a thin dark line on the base of the pectoral fin. Terminal males head of male with intricate reticulate pattern of bands that varies from one individual to another; small blackish spot on anus.

Length up to 19 cm (7.5 inches).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: West Central Pacific: Philippines to the Great Barrier Reef. Found in shallow protected coral reef on silt, sand and rubble bottom. Depth to 10 meters (33 feet)

Pastel-green wrasse4391731072_b36a014eca_b

DIET IN THE WILD: Hard-shelled prey, including mollusks, crustaceans, and sea urchins.



California Academy of Sciences Philippine coral reef 201

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fishbase: www.fishbase.org/summary/Halichoeres-chloropterus.html

EOL eol.org/pages/223761/details



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