Common name: bluefaced angel
Synonyms and Other Names: Yellow-mask angelfish, blue-face angelfish
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: Juveniles have six white bars along the sides with smaller, less-conspicuous pale-blue lines in between them. There is a blue margin around the body and the caudal fin is dark blue with blue bars. Adults have yellow dorsal and caudal fins edged in blue. There is a prominent blue spot at the posterior base of the dorsal fin. Scales on the body are blue with yellow edges, giving the effect of a net-like pattern. The breast and pectoral region are yellow with blue spotting; the head is blue with yellow spots and a yellow eye-mask. Juveniles assume coloration of adults at 7-12 cm TL. Grows to 38 cm TL. Also known as the yellow-mask angelfish or blue-face angelfish. Dorsal fin XIII or XIV (16-17), anal fin III (16-18). From Allen et al. (1998) and Randall et al. (1996).
Similar species: Queen angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris) has dark blue crown on forehead. Blue angelfish (Holacanthus bermudensis) has blue wash on forehead. Neither have a dark spot at the base of the dorsal fin.
Size: 38.0 cm TL
Native Range: Broadly distributed in the Indo-West Pacific from the Maldives, Indo-Australian Archipelago to Vanuatu, northward to Ryuku Islands and south to the Great Barrier Reef (Allen et al. 1998).
In Florida, this species has been observed/photographed off southeastern Florida (in 1995 [Courtenay 1995]) and near Fort Lauderdale (in 2006 [REEF 2008]).
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 Pomacanthus xanthometopon are found here.
Table last updated 12/5/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: The species inhabits lagoons, channels and outer-reef slopes where coral growth is prolific; especially areas with caves or large crevices. Found in depths from six to 60 m. It feeds on sponges and tunicates, and is generally solitary. From Allen et al. (1998 and 2003).
Means of Introduction: Probable aquarium release.
Status: Reported in Florida.
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)
Allen, G. R., R. Steene and M. Allen. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research, Perth.
Allen, G., R. Steene, P. Humann and N. Deloach. 2003. Reef Fish Identification. Tropical Pacific. New World Publications, Inc., Jacksonville, Florida and Odyssey Publications, El Cajon, California.
Courtenay, W.R., Jr. 1995. Marine fish introductions in southeastern Florida. Newsletter of the Introduced Fish Section, American Fisheries Society 14: 2-3.
Randall, J. E., G. R. Allen and R. C. Steene. 1996. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Second Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). 2008. Exotic species sighting program and volunteer database. World wide web electronic publication. www.reef.org, date of download March 10, 2008.
Revision Date: 4/24/2009
Peer Review Date: 4/24/2009
Schofield, P.J., 2023, Pomacanthus xanthometopon (Bleeker, 1853): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=878, Revision Date: 4/24/2009, Peer Review Date: 4/24/2009, Access Date: 12/6/2023
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.