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 xanthometopon
Pomacanthus xanthometopon
(bluefaced angel)
Marine Fishes

Copyright Info
Pomacanthus xanthometopon (Bleeker, 1853)

Common name: bluefaced angel

Synonyms and Other Names: Yellow-mask angelfish, blue-face angelfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

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).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: 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.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL199520061Florida Southeast Coast

Table last updated 7/17/2024

† 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.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Schofield, P.J.

Revision Date: 4/24/2009

Peer Review Date: 4/24/2009

Citation Information:
Schofield, P.J., 2024, 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: 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.


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. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/17/2024].

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