Photo: Queen angelfish swimming near a reef

The queen angelfish gets its name from the crown-like ring on its head. Its diet consists mostly of sponges and algae.

Photograph courtesy Chris Huss/NOAA

Map

Map: Angelfish range

Queen Angelfish Range

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Fast Facts

Type:
Fish
Diet:
Omnivore
Average life span in the wild:
Up to 15 years
Size:
Up to 18 in (45 cm)
Weight:
Up to 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg)
Group name:
School
Did you know?
Young queen angelfish feed by setting up cleaning stations in sea grass where larger fish come to have their skin parasites removed.
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man:
Illustration: Angelfish compared with adult man

Queen angelfish get their royal title from the speckled, blue-ringed black spot on their heads that resembles a crown.

Decked out with electric blue bodies, blazing yellow tails, and light purple and orange highlights, Queen angels are among the most strikingly colorful of all reef fishes. Their adornments seem shockingly conspicuous, but they blend well when hiding amid the exotic reef colors.

They are shy fish, found either alone or often in pairs in the warm waters of the Caribbean and western Atlantic. Fairly large for reef-dwellers, they can grow up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) in length. They have rounded heads and small beak-like mouths, and, like other angelfish, their long upper and lower fins stream dramatically behind them.

Their diet consists almost entirely of sponges and algae, but they will also nibble on sea fans, soft corals, and even jellyfish.

Queen angels are close relatives of the equally striking blue angelfish. In fact, these two species are known to mate, forming natural hybrids, a very rare occurrence among angelfish.

They are widely harvested for the aquarium trade, but are common throughout their range and have no special protections or status.

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