Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Pomacanthus zonipectus, Cortez angelfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

grey + yellow, cream & black bars
C yellow
juvenile: black + yellow & blue bars

Pomacanthus zonipectus (Gill, 1862)

Cortez angelfish

Deep compressed body; a short, blunt snout; 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, XI, 24-25; anal rays III, 20-22; dorsal and anal fins usually end in filaments; tail straight; body with large and small scales, irregularly arranged, lateral scales >70, very rough, with distinct ridges on the exposed part, scales extend out onto the median fins; without "axillary process" (an enlarged scale) at the base of the pelvic fins; lateral line complete;

Grey, darker at front; rear of body and adjacent dorsal and anal fins charcoal or blackish;  a broad yellow bar just behind margin of cheek, a second narrower yellow bar bordered with black just behind pectoral fin base; tail fin pale yellowish; juvenile black with six curved yellow bars on head, body and tail, with narrow blue bars between them.

Size: to 50 cm.

Habitat: usually seen solitarily or in pairs on rocky reefs. Juveniles "clean" parasites from the surface of other fishes.

Depth: 1-50 m.

Southern Baja and Gulf of California to Peru, including all the oceanic islands.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Near Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Corals
  • Water column
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Ectoparasite cleaner
  • Omnivore
  • Ectoparasites
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Data
  • Soft corals/hydroids
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • TEP endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 50
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 50