Vertebrate >> Fish >> Angelfish >> Grey Angelfish

Grey Angelfish

(Pomacanthus arcuatus)

Scientific Class

Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Pomacanthidae
Genus: Pomacanthus
Species: Holocanthus arcuatus

Quick Facts

Name: Grey Angelfish
Size: 25 to 45 cm (10 to 18 in.)
Weight: 1.8 kg (4.0 lbs.)
Lifespan: 5 to 10 Years
Diet: Sponges, Tunicates, Plankton, Algae, Gorgonians and Zoanthids.


Grey Angelfish Facts

Gray to deep brown ovoid body. The inner face of the pectoral fins is yellow. The mouth is white. Portions of dorsal and anal fins trail beyond body mass – as is seen in most angelfish. Solid, squared (truncate) caudal fin. The juvenile form consists of a black body with three yellow bars. Additionally, the yellow band extends down forehead and around the mouth. The square-edged caudal fin has a yellow base and clear outer edge. The juvenile form is similar to the juvenile french angelfish, an easy way to tell them apart is to check if the tail has a yellow outline. If it does have one, it’s a juvenile french angelfish.

Habitat – Distribution
The gray angelfish is found at depths between 3 and 30 meters (10 and 100 ft) over coral and rocky reefs. Juveniles occur at shallow depths on patch reefs and in seagrass beds.
Western Atlantic: New England to Rio de Janeiro, including the Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Antilles.

Diet – Behavior
Primarily sponges, but also tunicates, algae, zooantharians, gorgonians, hydroids, bryozoans, and seagrasses. The juveniles feed on algae and detritus along with ectoparasites they clean from other fishes. They tend “cleaning stations” where they remove these ectoparasites from a wide range of fish.

Reproduction – Juveniles
The spawning season occurs in the summer, from April to September. They have been recorded spawning above deep reefs during the early morning. The fish swim a meter or two above the reef and indulge in brief chases. The pair will chase off intruders. When they are ready, the pair swims upwards, bringing their bellies together to release eggs and milt. Females can release between 25,000 and 75,000 eggs. The fish may repeat this process multiple times. The eggs are pelagic and hatch into larvae after 15–20 hours. The larvae live among the plankton until they attain a length of around 15 mm (0.59 in), after which they descend onto the reef where they settle.

Conservation Status
Grey angelfish are classed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are used as part of the commercial aquarium trade. They are not typically a food fish, because they are associated with ciguatera poisoning, caused by fish-eating other toxic creatures and keeping a reservoir of toxins which may be passed on to human consumers.