Fish Identification: Rock Beauty

[Rock Beauty][]
Rock beauties are a common sighting on many reefs. Other names for the fish include corn sugar, coshubba, rock beasty, and yellow nanny. I haven't heard these, so stick with rock beauty and most people will know what you are talking about.

Physical description

Rock beauties are in the angelfish family, so they have the usual large-shaped, flat bodies of that species. They don't get as big as most angelfish, topping out at around 12 inches (35 cm).

Rock beauties are most easily distinguished by their color rather than their body shape. They have a bright yellow head and caudal fin. Sometimes these two patches of yellow connect above and below the large black region on the rear of their body. They have big lips that are iridescent blue.

Juvenile rock beauties are almost entirely bright yellow, with a single black spot on the upper rear of their bodies. As they grow older, this spot grows until it covers most of the back of the fish.

Geography and Habitat

Rock beauties are reef fish in the western Atlantic down to the Gulf of Mexico, and can be found at all diving depths.

They hang around reefs, rock jetties, or any sort of crevices that offer some protection. They are very territorial, so you will rarely see them venture far from their shelter.

Fun facts

It is thought that rock beauties are monogamous, due to the observed long-lasting pairs they form.

Further reading

Wikipedia
Florida Museum of Natural History

[Rock Beauty]: http://thedivingblog.com/uploads/2010/02/rock_beauty.jpg