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.

Centropyge flavissima
Centropyge flavissima
(lemonpeel angel)
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Centropyge flavissima (Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1831)

Common name: lemonpeel angel

Synonyms and Other Names: Dwarf angelfish; Holocanthus flavissimus (original combination)

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: The family Pomacanthidae (angelfishes) is distinguished from similar families by the presence of one or more prominent spines at the angle of the preopercle.  Angelfishes have a single, continuous dorsal fin; some species have filamentous extensions of one or more dorsal rays.  Most angelfishes are brightly coloured and many are imported for the aquarium trade.

The lemonpeel has XIV to XV dorsal spines, 15-16 dorsal rays, III anal spines, 16 anal soft rays and 44-50 lateral scale rows.  The soft dorsal and anal fins are rounded.  The body is bright yellow.  Juveniles have a blue-edged black ocellus in the middle of each flank.  The eye is encircled in blue.  The posterior margin of the opercle has a blue blotch.  Median fins are edged in blue.  From Pyle (2001) and Froese and Pauly (2004).

Size: to about 9 cm TL (Pyle 2001); reported to 14 cm TL (Froese & Pauly 2004)

Native Range: Native to much of the Western Pacific, from southern Japan to the Tuamotu Archipelago, excluding Hawaii and Johnson Atoll.  Also reported from the Great Barrier Reef, the Coral Sea and Ryukyu Islands.  See Pyle (2001) for details.  Additionally, there is an unusual isolated population in the eastern Indian Ocean (Smith-Vaniz and Randall 1974; Pyle 2001).

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Puerto Rico &
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Guam Saipan
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Observed in Oahu, Hawaii, in 1998; verified recent (i.e. post-1995) arrival (Coles et al. 1999).

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 Centropyge flavissima are found here.

StateYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Hawaii199820132Hawaii; Oahu

Table last updated 5/25/2018

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: The lemonpeel is shallow-water species, inhabiting lagoons and coral reefs at depths of 2 to 15 m (Pyle 2001).  Reported to 50 m (Froese and Pauly 2004).  It is the most common Centropyge in shallow waters (less than 20 m) in the Marianas and Marshalls, but is relatively rare in the Carolines and extremely rare in Palau (Myers 1999).

Adults forms harems of 3 to 7 individuals.  Lemonpeel hybridises with other Centropyge (e.g., C. eibli, C. vrolikii) in the native range (Wedge 1984; Pyle and Randall 1994; Myers 1999; Pyle 2001).

The species is mimicked by juveniles of Acanthurus pyroferus (Pyle 2001).

Means of Introduction: Aquarium release. The lemonpeel is a common species in the aquarium trade.  However, it is difficult to maintain successfully.

Status: Reported from 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)

Coles, S. L., R. C. DeFelice and L. G. Edlredge.  1999.  Nonindigenous marine species introduction in the harbours of the south and west shores of Oahu, Hawaii, Hawaii.  Bishop Museum Technical Report No. 15.  Available online at: http://hbs.bishopmuseum.org/pdf/southshore.pdf

Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2004. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.fishbase.org, version (09/2004).

Myers, R. F.  1999.  Micronesian Reef Fishes.  A field guide for divers and aquarists.  Coral Graphics, Davie, FL. 

Pyle, R.  2001.  Pomacanthidae.  Angelfishes.  pp 3266-3286 In: Carpenter, K. E. and V. Niem (Eds.)  FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes.  The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific.  Vo. 5.  Bony fishes part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae).  FAO, Rome.

Pyle, R. L. and J. E. Randall.  1994.  A review of hybridization in marine angelfishes (Perciformes: Pomacanthidae).  Environmental Biology of Fishes 41: 127-145.

Smith-Vaniz, W. F. and J. E. Randall.  1974.  Two new species of angelfishes (Centropyge) from the Cocos-Keeling Islands Islands.  Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 126: 105-113.

Wedge, J. M.  1984.  The mating game.  Sea Frontiers 30: 308-309.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Schofield, P.J.

Revision Date: 4/20/2018

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Schofield, P.J., 2019, Centropyge flavissima (Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1831): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=2262, Revision Date: 4/20/2018, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 1/18/2019

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.

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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. [2019]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [1/18/2019].

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