Emperor Angelfish, Pomacanthus imperator Click to enlarge image
An Emperor Angelfish at a depth of 26m, "The Gut", north of Rodda Reef, far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, December 2001. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    imperator
    Genus
    Pomacanthus
    Family
    Pomacanthidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 38cm in length

Introduction

Juvenile and adult Emperor Angelfish look very different. This stunning looking species is a popular aquarium fish.



Identification

Adult Emperor Angelfish have diagonal yellow and purplish-blue stripes on the body, and a curved black bar covering the eye.

Angelfishes of the genus Pomacanthus are known for their dramatic colour changes with growth. The juvenile Emperor Angelfish (image below) is dark blue-black with a white ring on the rear of the body. This is surrounded by incomplete circles of blue and white.



Habitat

The species occurs on coral reefs. Juveniles are often seen under ledges near cleaner shrimps.

Distribution

The Emperor Angelfish occurs throughout much of the Indo-Central Pacific. In Australia it is known from the central Western Australian coast, around the tropical north and south to the central New South Wales coastline.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



Economic impacts

Angelfishes are some of the most popular tropical marine aquarium fishes.

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R., Steene, R. & M. Allen. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research. Pp. 250.
  3. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  6. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.