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Velvet Angel


Velvet Angel
Chaetodontoplus melanosoma
Place of origin: 
Western Pacific
Western Pacific, Philippines and Indonesia. Occurs on coastal and outer reef slopes at moderate depths to 30m, usually in strong current habitats where holding up in caves. In Indonesia this species is recorded from Bali from where it ranges east to Flores and Solor Island, and north via the Wallace's Line to the Philippines. Records from elsewhere are not this, but similar species. Adults are almost completely black and feature a thin yellow margin posteriorly on the median fins. The head and part of the upper body is somewhat paler than the rest of the body. Juveniles have a black band on the caudal fin that gradually reduces with growth, whilst the black of the body creeps onto caudal fin. Distinguished from the similar Chaetodontoplus dimidiatus in having a mostly black versus completely yellow tail and body colouration. Often shipped from the Philippines. Fully grown individuals are rather difficult to acclimatise in the home aquarium, but juveniles or subadults could be kept for a long period. Attains a length of 20cm.
The members of the family Pomacanthidae are generally know as angelfishes and, like their nearest cousins, the butterflyfishes, are regarded by many divers and aquarists as being amongst the most beautiful and majestic fishes in the sea. The majority of species occur on shallow reefs in coral, algae and sponge zones, most going little deeper than about 30m butĀ  where conditions are pristine and water is very clear, many species go much deeper and few species only live deep (over 100m). Angelfishes feature a large and distinctive backward-protruding spine from the lower corner of the gill-plate (cheek spine) from which the family nameĀ  was derived. This cheek-spine is diagnostic for all the species , even at juvenile stage, and readily separates any angelfishes from butterflyfishes that may be similar in shape. Mot angelfishes are robust with compressed, ovate to rhomboid shaped bodies, covered with small or tiny scales, and have a continuous dorsal fin. The mouth is small and jaws are set with many small, usually tricuspid teeth that are used for grazing algae or scraping sponges and other sessile invertebrates. Few species combine their diet with a variety of foods and some are planktivores.

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