These colorful marine fish found in tropical coral reefs of the world’s oceans are not to be confused with the freshwater species from South America with the same name.
The Emperor Angelfish is one of over 80 species of marine angelfish, found in reefs in the Indian and Pacific Oceans as well as the Red Sea. They are omnivorous – feeding on both plant matter and other animals, preferring sponges and algae.
The adults grow to be 15 inches (40 cm) with very striking blue and yellow horizontal stripes, a dark mask around their eyes and a white mouth.
Young emperor angelfish look nothing like their parents, featuring a dark blue body with white and light blue circular patterns, they are often mistaken for a separate species. Juveniles often act as cleaner fish, picking parasites off of other animals.
Marine and freshwater angelfish are not believed to be related. The marine angelfish are thought to be related to butterflyfish while the freshwater angelfish are related to cichlids.