Fish Identification: French Angelfish

Today's fish is very tropical in terms of appearance as well as location. I see these guys all over the place in the Caribbean.

Physical description

[French angelfish][]
As their name suggests, french angelfish are members of the angelfish family, and so have the familiar large, roundish body that is also flat. They can grow in length up to 16 inches (about 40 centimeters).

Baby and adult french angelfish are different in appearance. Juveniles are black with nearly-vertical yellow stripes across their body, five or so.

As they grow, french angelfish lose their stripes. They retain an overall dark greyish body color, but with their body covered in yellow on the edges of their scales. Their eyes' irises are also yellow. Their pectoral fins and the tip of their dorsal fins also have a bit of yellow-orange. French angelfish chins are usually a whitish color.

Geography and habitat

French angelfish are common in shallow reefs, typically above 130 ft / 40 m, across the western Atlantic. They can also be found in a few spots of the eastern Atlantic.

They live in the coral and are highly territorial, usually returning to the same coral each night.

French angelfish are monogamous and stay in pairs until separated by death. For this reason, they are often seen roaming the reef in pairs.

Further reading

Marine Bio
Florida Museum of Natural History

[French angelfish]: