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.

Pomacanthus maculosus
Pomacanthus maculosus
(yellowbar angelfish)
Marine Fishes

Copyright Info
Pomacanthus maculosus (Forsskål, 1775)

Common name: yellowbar angelfish

Synonyms and Other Names: halfmoon angelfish, yellowbar angelfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Adults are violet-blue with a large yellow blotch on the middle of the body.  Scales on the forehead and nape have dark edges.  Dorsal and caudal fins have yellow patches with light-blue markings.  Dorsal and anal fins end in filaments.  Juveniles have a dark blue body color with several white and pale blue bars along the sides (similar to P. asfur).  The caudal fin is transparent.  Yellow markings along the sides of juveniles generally appear around the size of 6 cm, while full transformation to adult coloration occurs at a size from 10 to 15 cm TL.  Can grow to 40 cm TL.  From Allen et al. (1998).

Similar species:  The rock beauty (Holacanthus tricolor) has a black body with yellow head and tail. Juvenile queen angelfish (Holacanthus ciliaris) and blue angelfish (Holacanthus bermudensis) have bright blue body bars. Juvenile French angelfish (Holacanthus paru) and gray angelfish (Holacanthus arcuatus) have bright yellow body bars on black body.

Size: to 40 cm TL

Native Range: Western Pacific around the Arabian Peninsula, including the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf.  Ranges south to Kenya (Allen et al. 1998).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: The species has been observed off Pompano Beach (2000 – 2002), West Palm Beach (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009), Boynton Beach (2003) and Juno Beach (2004).  One individual was documented off the Parana state in southern Brazil (Southwest Atlantic Ocean; Soeth et al. 2018).  It has also recently invaded the Mediterranean Sea (Bariche 2010; Salameh et al. 2012; Evans et al. 2016).

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 maculosus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL200020091Florida Southeast Coast

Table last updated 7/17/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Pomacanthus maculosus inhabit coral reefs, rocky areas and silty bays (Pyle et al. 2010). They feed primarily on sponges and tunicates (Alwany 2009). Females reach maturity around 5.5 years of age and approximently 21.6 cm (TL). Maximum age estimate is 36 years (Grandcourt et al. 2010). The species has been noted as curious and not shy around divers (Allen et al. 1998).

Means of Introduction: Probable aquarium release.

Status: Unknown.

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.

Alwany, M.A. 2009. Distribution and feeding ecology of the angelfishes (Pomacanthidae) in Shalateen region, Red Sea, Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries 13(1):79-91.

Bariche, M. 2010. First record of the angelfish Pomacanthus maculosus (Teleostei: Pomacanthidae) in the Mediterranean. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology 16(1):31-33.

Evans, J., Zammi, E. & Schembri, P. J. (2016) First record of the yellowbar angelfish Pomacanthus maculosus (Forsskål, 1775) in the central Mediterranean (Maltese Islands). Journal of Applied Ichthyology 32(6), 1226–1228.

Grandcourt, E., T.Z. Al Abdessalaam, F. Francis and A. Al Shamsi. 2010. Age-based life history parameters and status assessments of by-catch species (Lethrinus borbonicus, Lethrinus microdon, Pomacanthus maculosus and Scolopsis taeniatus) in the southern Arabian Gulf. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 26:381-389.

Pyle, R., Rocha, L.A. & Craig, M.T. 2010. Pomacanthus maculosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T165833A6144097. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T165833A6144097.en.

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF).  2008.  Exotic species sighting programs and volunteer database. World wide web electronic publication. www.reef.org, date of download March 10, 2008.

Salameh, P., Sonin, O., Edelist, D., and D. Golani. 2012. The first substantiated record of the yellowbar angelfish, Pomacanthus maculosus (Actinopterygii: Perciformes: Pomacanthidae) in the Mediterranean. Acta Ichthyologica Et Piscatoria 42(1):73-74.

Soeth, M., Adelir-alves, J., Loose, R., Daros, F.A., and H. L. Spach. 2018 First record of Pomacanthus maculosus (Perciformes, Pomacanthidae) in the south-western Atlantic Ocean. Journal of Fish Biology

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Schofield, P.J.

Revision Date: 9/18/2019

Peer Review Date: 4/24/2009

Citation Information:
Schofield, P.J., 2024, Pomacanthus maculosus (Forsskål, 1775): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2297, Revision Date: 9/18/2019, Peer Review Date: 4/24/2009, Access Date: 7/17/2024

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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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/17/2024].

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