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Gray Angelfishes, Pomacanthus arcuatus

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Description & Behavior

Gray angelfishes, Pomacanthus arcuatus (Linnaeus, 1758), aka angelfishes, pot covers or grey angelfishes, are often confused with French angelfishes and though they are similar in shape, the grays are lighter in color overall. Gray anglefishes reach about 60 cm in length and weigh up to 1.83 kg.

They have a total of 9 dorsal spines and between 31-33 dorsal soft rays, 3 anal spines and 23-25 anal soft rays. Gray angelfishes are pale gray around the mouth and they have a pale gray margin on their caudal fins. Their bodies are also varying shades of pale gray. The interior side of their pectoral fins are yellow. Juveniles are black with two light yellow bars on the body and three bars on their heads and they have yellow caudal fins with long, vertical, nearly rectangular black spots in middle. Gray angelfishes often show curiousity toward divers.

World Range & Habitat

Gray angelfishes, Pomacanthus arcuatus, are a reef-associated, non-migratory species that can be found at ranges in depth from 2 to 30 m.

They are found in tropical waters in the Western Atlantic from the northeastern USA south to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They are also found in the Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean, including the Antilles islands. Gray angelfishes are often found in pairs or alone.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Gray angelfishes, Pomacanthus arcuatus, feed mainly on sponges, but they are also known to eat tunicates, algae, gorgonians, hydroids, bryozoans, and seagrasses. Juveniles are also known to clean parasites off other species.

Life History

Gray angelfishes, Pomacanthus arcuatus, are a monogamous, oviparous species. They have a low minimum population doubling time between 4.5 - 14 years. Eggs are fertilized externally in open water.

Oviparous: Produce eggs that develop and hatch outside the body of the female.

Population doubling time: The number of years required for the population of a given species to double its present size, given the current rate of population growth, used to measure a specie’s resilience to fishing pressure or other environmental stressors.

Conservation Status & Comments

Gray angelfishes, Pomacanthus arcuatus, have been associated with ciguatera poisoning when consumed by humans. They are occasionally fished commercially for the aquarium trade.

References & Further Research

Research Pomacanthus arcuatus » Barcode of Life ~ Taxonomy ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library [audio / video] ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species + Database ~ WoRMS

Search for Gray Angelfishes » ARKive ~ Flickr ~ Google ~ Creative Commons search ~ Wikipedia ~ YouTube

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