Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Pomacanthus arcuatus, Gray Angelfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

pale grey + dark spots
pectoral - outer base grey
juv: C black + yellow bar & clear edge
juv: inverted yellow cross on snout & mouth

Pomacanthus arcuatus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Gray Angelfish

Deep, almost circular, compressed body; head deep, snout short; mouth small, with brush-like teeth; preopercle with a large spine at its angle, with vertical margin smooth; bone between preopercle and operculum without spines; bone under eye without large, rear-pointing spines; dorsal fin un-notched, IX, 31-33; anal rays III, 23-25; front soft rays of dorsal and anal fin with filaments; tail fin W-shaped in adult; body with large and small scales, irregularly arranged, very rough, with distinct ridges on the exposed part, >70 lateral scales; scales extend out onto the median fins; without "axillary process" (an enlarged scale) at the base of the pelvic fins; lateral line complete.

Adult: greyish; large body scales with dark centers and pale edges; pectoral with outer base grey, inside base yellow; tail with pale rear margin. Juvenile: black, with 3 yellow bars on head and body, base of tail fin yellow, center black, rear of fin transparent; center of forehead with a yellow line forms an inverted cross, continuing down across mouth to chin, with side branches down rear sides of mouth.

Size: to 60 cm.

Habitat: on reefs and rocky areas; juveniles common in seagrass beds.

Depth: 1-101 m.

New York to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Corallivore
  • Data
  • Ectoparasite cleaner
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Soft corals/hydroids
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Benthic macroalgae/seagrasses
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Ectoparasites
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 60
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 101