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Species: Pomacanthus imperator, Emperor Angelfish

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body: oblique yellow & blue stripes
face grey + black eye mask
C yellow
juv: dark blue + curved pale & white bars & concentric rings
juv: C mostly clear

Pomacanthus imperator (Bloch, 1787)

Emperor 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; gill rakers 6-7+13-14; dorsal fin un-notched, XIV, 19-21; anal rays III, 19-20; front soft rays of dorsal and anal fin both without filaments; tail fin rounded; body with large and small scales, irregularly arranged, very rough, with distinct ridges on the exposed part, ~90 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: body with strong, alternating diagonal narrow yellow and blue stripes; a broad dark bar behind head; eyes covered by a dark mask; snout and cheek whitish; tail fin & outer edge of dorsal fin orangish yellow. Juvenile: dark blue, with white concentric marks on body.

Size: to 38 cm.

Habitat: inshore and outer reefs, often with rich coral, deep lagoons; juveniles under ledges and in holes on shallow reefs

Depth: 1-105 m.

Indo-central Pacific: introduced to southeast Florida

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef only
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 38
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 105