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Emperor Angel : J


Emperor Angel : J
Pomacanthus imperator
Place of origin: 
Western Indian Ocean

The most widespread angelfish, known from the Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean east to Polynesia and Hawaii in the central Pacific. However, only one specimen suspected to have been released  by a local  ornamental fish importer is known from Hawaii and there are some geographical variations. Lives in coral rich lagoons and outer reefs from 3 to 70m, where the Emperor angelfish is usually encountered singly or in pairs. Adults are blue with diagonal narrow yellow lines; the eyes are covered by a mask-like dark band and they have a yellow caudal fin. Juveniles are completely different in colour, being almost black with white and blue curving lines, forming circles near the caudal base which distinguishes them form similar species.

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 but  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 name  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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