The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Pygoplites diacanthus
Pygoplites diacanthus
(Regal angelfish)
Marine Fishes
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Pygoplites diacanthus (Boddaert, 1772)

Common name: Regal angelfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Dorsal rays XIV (17-19); anal rays III (17-19); pectoral rays 16-17; longitudinal scale series 48-50 (Randall 2005).

Size: to 25 cm (Randall 2005).

Native Range: Indo-Pacific from South Africa and the Red Sea to Indonesia, northern Australia, New Caledonia, southern Japan, Micronesia to the Gilbert Islands, and French Polynesia.

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: A single individual was seen several times in 1997 at ca. 19 m off the western side of Kewalo Beach Park, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (Mundy 2005).

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Pygoplites diacanthus are found here.

StateYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†

Table last updated 9/30/2019

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Occurs from shallow protected reefs in bays and lagoons to outer-reef areas at depths of at least 50 m.  Feeds mainly on sponges.  Juveniles are cryptic, hiding in caves (often upsided down on roof).  Indian Ocean population with distinct colouring, but not yet given nomenclatural recognition.  From Randall (2005).

Means of Introduction: Probable aquarium release

Status: Collected in Hawaii.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

References: (click for full references)

Mundy, B. C.  2005.  Checklist of Fishes of the Hawaiian Archipelago.  Bishop Museum Bulletin in Zoology 6.

Randall, J. E.  2005.  Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific.  University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Schofield, P.J.

Revision Date: 4/13/2006

Peer Review Date: 4/13/2006

Citation Information:
Schofield, P.J., 2020, Pygoplites diacanthus (Boddaert, 1772): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2605, Revision Date: 4/13/2006, Peer Review Date: 4/13/2006, Access Date: 2/21/2020

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2020]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [2/21/2020].

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