Queen Angelfish [Holacanthus ciliaris]

mexico-queen-angelfish

The Queen Angelfish, Holacanthus ciliaris, is an angelfish commonly found near reefs in the warmer sections of the western Atlantic Ocean.

The adult Queen angelfish overall body color can be described as blue to bluegreen with yellow rims on its scales. Their pectoral fins and ventral fins are also yellow but their lips and the edges of their dorsal fins and anal fins are dark blue. Queen angelfish are also known to have blue markings around each gill cover. Juveniles have dark blue bodies with yellow lips, gills, and tail and vertical bars ranging in color from light blue to white. The Queen Angelfish may live up to 15 yrs in the wild and reach up to 45 centimetres in length.

The Queen Angelfish feeds primarily on sponges, but also feeds on tunicates, jellyfish, and corals as well as plankton and algae. Juveniles serve as “cleaners” and feed on the parasites of larger fish at cleaning stations. Although in home aquariums, aquarists have been successful in providing the Queen Angelfish a diet of meaty and algae based foods

Queen Angelfish inhabit reefs and are common near Florida, the Bahamas, and the Gulf of Mexico. It is rarely seen in the Bermuda Triangle and as far south as Brazil.

The adults are found in pairs year round, perhaps suggesting a long-term monogamous bond. The pairs reproduce by rising up in the water, bringing their bellies close together, and release clouds of sperm and eggs. The female can release anywhere from 25 to 75 thousand eggs each evening and as many as ten million eggs during each spawning cycle. The eggs are transparent, buoyant, and pelagic, floating in the water column. They hatch after 15 to 20 hours into larvae that lack effective eyes, fins, or even a gut. The large yolk sac is absorbed after 48 hours, during which time the larvae develop normal characteristics of free swimming fish. Larvae are found in the water column and feed on plankton. The larvae grow rapidly and about 3-4 weeks after hatching the 15-20mm long juvenile settles on the bottom. (Text: Wikipedia)

Pictures: Cozumel, Mexico by Sami Salmenkivi

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