Wet Web Media is a Reference site and best used with the following tools
Step 1: Search us with Google
Step 2: Enter terms of interest to highlight
Information Pages:
Ponds, lakes
& fountains
Turtles &
Daily FAQs
FW Daily FAQs
SW Pix of the Day
FW Pix of the Day
New On WWM
Helpful Links
Hobbyist Forum
Ask the WWM Crew a Question
Search Feature
Admin Index
Cover Images

Related FAQs: Holacanthus Angelfishes, Marine Angelfishes In General, Angelfish ID, Selection, Behavior, Compatibility, Systems, Health, Feeding, Disease,   

Related Articles: Clarion Angels, Queen Angels, Rock Beauty AngelsThe family of Angelfishes, Pomacanthidae

Genus Holacanthus Angelfishes

Bob Fenner

This Passer is for you!

Genus Holacanthus: Eight or nine species if you include H. isabelita as valid. 

Holacanthus africanus Cadenat 1951, West African Angelfish (1). Seldom seen in the trade due to its range: off the coast of tropical western Africa. To seventeen inches long in the wild. Pic by AnthonyC.

Holacanthus arcuatus Gray 1831, The Bandit, Black-Banded Angelfish, Holo-holo... A beauty and heartbreaker... this angel is so "friendly" it can be caught literally by hand... without a net... but rarely lives for any period of time in captivity. Here's an image of one starting to break down (note brown spot on its flank). Imported from its limited range in Hawai'i. Dr. Randall lists in the genus Desmoholacanthus and Fishbase.org in Apolemichthys... Right: 2" juv. by Matt Ross. Below: Aquarium pic of one breaking down badly and a healthy one in Hawai'i. 

Bigger PIX: The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Holacanthus bermudensis Goode 1876, the Blue Angelfish (1). Often confused price-wise with the Queen Angelfish, whose juveniles have bent mid-body bars and adults are much more colorful overall. Hybrids between the two abound. Patchy distribution in the tropical west Atlantic. To thirteen inches or so in length. Below: Juvenile and mid-size adult in captivity, adult off of Florida shown.

Bigger PIX: The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Holacanthus ciliaris (Linnaeus 1758), the Queen Angelfish (1). A true queen of fishes. To seventeen inches in the wild. Florida to Brazil in the tropical west Atlantic. Juvenile (note curved white body bars compared to straight in H. bermudensis) in captivity and adult in the wild (Bahamas) shown. Adults may be yellow, even "koi" mixed in color.

Bigger PIX: The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.


Holacanthus clarionensis Gilbert 1891, the Clarion Angelfish (1). Found at the tip of southern Baja on down to scattered islands as far south as Clipperton. To eight inches in length. A rare beauty that demands a well-deserved high price. Juvenile and adult at Socorro Island, Revilligigedos.

Bigger PIX: The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Holacanthus isabelita Jordan & Rutter 1898, the Blue Angelfish. Western Atlantic; Bermuda, Florida to the West Indies. To eighteen inches in  length.    

Holacanthus limbaughi Baldwin 1963, the Clipperton Angelfish (1). Only recorded from Clipperton Island in the tropical east Pacific. To about nine inches in length.

Next trip with Marty, John, Gerry, and crew.

Holacanthus passer Valenciennes 1846, the King or Passer Angelfish (1). Juveniles act as cleaners of other fishes. To about nine inches in length. A great, hardy fish for a large marine system. Mid Sea of Cortez on down the Pacific coast to the Galapagos. Two inch one in Cabo, four inch juvenile in the Galapagos, an adult in Cabo, Mexico, an old-timer in the Galapagos, and a group there.

Holacanthus tricolor (Bloch 1795), the (Atlantic) Rock Beauty (3). The one "stinker" in the bunch that are regularly offered. Most specimens die "mysteriously" from the effects of capture and lack of nutrition... place yours in an established live rock tank, and get it to feed immediately. To eight inches in length. Below: Juvenile in aquarium, semi and full adult in the Bahamas.

Bibliography/Further Reading on Holacanthus

Allen, Gerald, Roger Steene & Mark Allen. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Tropical Reef Research/Odyssey Publishing, Singapore/San Diego. 250pp.

Campbell, Douglas. Marines: their care and keeping, Holacanthus-Apolemichthys, parts 1 & 2. FAMA 3,4/81.

McKenna, Scott. 1988. Keeping the rock beauty angel. TFH 7/88.

Michael, Scott W. 1997. Holacanthus angelfish. Their behavior isn't very angelic. AFM 10/97.

Moenich, David R. 1989. Marine angelfish: genera: Holacanthus. FAMA 11/89.

Moenich, David R. 1990. Marine angelfish: Holacanthus. AFM 8/90.

Phillips, Merry Elisabeth. 1993. A special angel (H. tricolor). TFH 9/93. 

Become a Sponsor
Featured Sponsors: