Emperor angelfish, with the scientific name Pomacanthus imperator, is a marine angelfish.
It lives in coral reefs and is found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from the Red Sea all the way to Hawaii and the Austral Islands.
This species has stable populations and is not at risk of extinction.
Emperor angelfish is popular among photographers, artists, and people who keep aquariums because of its unique and bright colors.
Young emperor angelfish are usually found under ledges or in holes within outer lagoon patch reefs or semi-protected areas of exposed channels and outer reef flats.
As they grow, they move to reef front holes and surge channels.
Large adults live in ledges and caves in areas with rich coral growth on clear lagoons, channels, or seaward reefs.
This fish is benthopelagic, meaning it swims close to the bottom of the water, midwater, or near the surface.
It feeds on sponges, tunicates, and other encrusting organisms.
While these fish are often sold for aquariums, they are not considered reef safe, meaning they can potentially harm coral reefs in an aquarium setting.
Young emperor angelfish can be recognized by a white margin on their dorsal fin.
Emperor Angelfish Interesting Facts
- Emperor angelfish is a beautiful fish that lives near reefs.
- This species has stable populations and is not facing any major threat of extinction.
- Emperor angelfish are popular because of their unique, brilliant color patterns.
- These fish feed on sponges, tunicates, and other encrusting organisms.
- Emperor angelfish are not reef-safe as they may harm corals.
Emperor Angelfish Habitat
Emperor Angelfish is found in the Indo-Pacific region.
It lives in areas from the Red Sea and East Africa to Hawaiian, Line and Tuamoto Islands, reaching as far north as southern Japan and the Ogasawara Islands, and as far south as the Great Barrier Reef, New Caledonia, and the Austral Islands.
However, this fish is not found in Easter Island, Rapa, and the Marquesan Islands.
Emperor angelfish lives near coral reefs and does not migrate. It can be found at depths ranging from 1 to 100 meters (about 3 to 328 feet).
It’s a tropical fish, living in areas with latitudes between 31°N and 28°S and longitudes between 32°E and 144°W.
Emperor Angelfish Physical Characteristics
Size: 15.7 inches (40.0 centimeters)
Emperor angelfish can grow up to 40.0 cm (about 15.7 inches) in length and can live for up to 14 years.
This fish has 13 to 14 dorsal spines (spines on its back), 17 to 21 dorsal soft rays (soft, flexible fin supports), 3 anal spines (spines near its rear end), and 18 to 21 anal soft rays.
Young emperor angelfish are bluish-black with white circles on their bodies.
As they grow into adults, their colors change to blue with horizontal yellow stripes on their sides and the adjoining dorsal and anal fins.
The snout of the adult fish is white, and its eye is surrounded by a black vertical bar with a blue edge.
The area near the base of its pectoral fin is also black.
The transformation from the young to the adult color pattern happens when the fish is between 8 and 12 cm (about 3.1 to 4.7 inches) in size.
The body depth of emperor angelfish is 1.6 to 1.8 times smaller than its length, and it has about 90 scales in a longitudinal series along its body.