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Masked Swallowtail Angel


Masked Swallowtail Angel
Genicanthus semifasciatus
Place of origin: 
Western Pacific
Restricted to the northwestern Pacific from southern Japan to Taiwan and the Philippines. Occurs on rocky reefs from about 15m to very deep water. Reported over 200m, Sometimes seen in a harem-like group of  a male with several females. Males are identified by the yellow-orange on the face that continues as a horizontal streak on the side with numerous narrow vertical dark lines above and plain white below. Females grey above, grading to white below, yellow along top of dorsal fin, a seahorse-shaped black band on eye, and black caudal lobes and peduncle. Length to 21cm.
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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