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Watanabei Angel - Female


Watanabei Angel - Female
Genicanthus watanabei
Place of origin: 

Widespread in the Western and Central Pacific, ranging from the Ryukyu and Ogasawara Islands, Taiwan to the Tuamotus; south to New Caledonia and the Austral Islands, also Palau, Marianas and Marshalls. Observed on steep outer reef slopes and drop-offs at depths that may be greater than 50m in some areas, but much less in others like in Coral Sea where as shallow as 20m. Usually in small groups, comprising several females and a dominant male in a harem-like arrangement. Both sexes bluish-grey to blue. Males blue on upper half of body, and whitish ventrally with about 8-12 alternating black and white horizontal stripes, and a conspicuous yellow dash or stripe near caudal peduncle. Dark blue on caudal lobes. A black edge on dorsal and anal fins. Females pale blue, lacking any distinct markings on body, but have a black band above eye, a narrow dark stripe on upper part  of gill cover, a black submarginal stripe on dorsal and anal fins, and black caudal fin lobes. Length to 14cm, excluding caudal filaments.

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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