Gray angelfish [Pomacanthus arcuatus]

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The Gray angelfish, Pomacanthus arcuatus, is a large angelfish of the family Pomacanthidae, found in the western Atlantic from New England to the vicinity of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and also the Bahamas, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean, including the Antilles, at depths of between 2 and 30 m. Length is up to 60 cm.

The gray angelfish is common in coral reefs, usually solitary, occasionally in pairs. Juveniles are part-time cleaners. It feeds mainly on sponges, but also takes tunicates, algae, zoantharians, gorgonians, hydroids, bryozoans, and seagrasses. Its flesh is reported to be of excellent quality and it is marketed fresh and salted. It is friendly toward divers and has been reared in captivity.
Coloration is pale gray around the mouth, with a pale gray margin on the caudal fin. The inside of the pectoral fin is yellow. Juveniles are black with two light yellow bars on the body and three on the head; the caudal fin is yellow with a vertically elongate, nearly rectangular or hemispherical black spot in the middle.
Reproduction is oviparous and members of this species are monogamous. (text: Wikipedia)

Pictures: Cozumel, Mexico by Sami Salmenkivi

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

French angelfish [Pomacanthus paru]

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adult

mexico-french-angelfish-intermediate
intermediate

The French angelfish, Pomacanthus paru, is a large angelfish of the family Pomacanthidae, found in the western Atlantic from Florida and the Bahamas to Brazil, and also the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, including the Antilles, and the eastern Atlantic from around Ascension Island and St. Paul’s Rocks, at depths of between 2 and 100 m. Length is up to 41 cm.

The French angelfish is common in shallow reefs, usually in pairs, often near sea fans. It feeds on sponges, algae, bryozoans, zoantharians, gorgonians and tunicates. Juveniles tend cleaning stations where they service a broad range of clients, including jacks, snappers, morays, grunts, surgeonfishes, and wrasses. At the station the cleaner displays a fluttering swimming and when cleaning it touches the clients with its pelvic fins.

Coloration in adults is black, the scales of the body, except those at the front from nape to abdomen, being rimmed with golden yellow; a broad orange-yellow bar at pectoral absent; dorsal filament yellow; chin whitish; outer part of iris yellow; eye narrowly rimmed below with blue. Juveniles are black with vertical yellow bands.
Reproduction is oviparous and these species are monogamous. Spawning pairs are strongly territorial, with usually both members vigorously defending their areas against neighboring pairs.

Pictures: Cozumel, Mexico by Sami Salmenkivi

Rock beauty [Holacanthus tricolor]

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The Rock beauty, Holacanthus tricolor, is a species of marine angelfish of the family Pomacanthidae, found in the western Atlantic from Georgia, United States, Bermuda, and the northern Gulf of Mexico to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at depths of between 3 and 92 m. Its length is up to 35 cm.
The rock beauty is inhabits rock jetties, rocky reefs and rich coral areas. Juveniles are often associated with fire corals. It feeds on tunicates, sponges, zoantharians and algae.
Coloration of the front of the body is yellow; the remaining parts of body, dorsal fin, and the front of anal fin are black. The caudal fin is entirely yellow. The front margin of the anal fin and edge of the gill cover are orange; bright blue on the upper and lower part of the iris. The young of about an inch in length are entirely yellow except for a blue-edged black spot on the upper side of the body posterior to the midpoint; with growth, the black spot soon expands to become the large black area covering most of the body and dorsal and anal fins. (text: Wikipedia)

Pictures: Utila, Honduras by Sami Salmenkivi

Great barracuda [Sphyraena barracuda]

The Great Barracuda is a species of barracuda. Its binomial name is Sphyraena barracuda. Great barracudas often grow over 6ft long. The great barracuda is a type of ray-finned fish.

Barracudas are elongated fish with powerful jaws. The lower jaw of the large mouth juts out beyond the upper. Barracudas possess strong, fang-like teeth. These are unequal in size and set in sockets in the jaws on the roof of the mouth. The head is quite large and is pointed and pike-like in appearance. The gill-covers do not have spines and are covered with small scales. The two dorsal fins are widely separated, with the first having five spines and the second having one spine and nine soft rays. The second dorsal fin equals the anal fin in size and is situated more or less above it. The lateral line is prominent and extends straight from head to tail. The spinous dorsal fin is placed above the pelvics. The hind end of the caudal fin is forked or concave. It is set at the end of a stout peduncle. The pectoral fins are placed low down on the sides. The barracuda swim bladder is large.

In general, the barracuda’s coloration is dark green or grey above chalky-white below. This varies somewhat. Sometimes there is a row of darker cross-bars or black spots on each side. The fins may be yellowish or dusky.

Barracudas appear in open seas. They are voracious predators and hunt using a classic example of lie-in-wait or ambush. They rely on surprise and short bursts of speed (up to 27mph (43 km/h)[2]) to overrun their prey, sacrificing maneuverability. Barracudas are more or less solitary in their habits. Young and half-grown fish frequently congregate in shoals. Their food is composed almost totally of fishes of all kinds. Large barracudas, when gorged, may attempt to herd a shoal of prey fish in shallow water, where they guard over them until they are ready for another meal. (text source: wikipedia)

Picture: Cozumel, Mexico by Sami Salmenkivi