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Volume 37, Issue 3
May 2021

Rock Beauty Angelfish on Shark Bend Reef, Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S.A.

Rock Beauty Angelfish on Shark Bend Reef, Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S.A. The rock beauty angelfish (Holacanthus tricolor) is a fish species associated with clear, shallow reef habitats of the tropical western Atlantic Ocean. It can be found from Bermuda to the Bahamas and from Florida down to southeastern Brazil. Their diet consists mainly of sponges, but they have been known to occasionally feed on planktonic animals, small invertebrates, coral, tunicates, algae, and even mucus secreted from other fish. It has a flat, oval black body with trailing black dorsal and anal fins (with yellow and orange margins), a yellow tail, and a yellow face with a black mouth. The juvenile is almost completely yellow, with a black spot on either side that grows slowly to cover most of its body. The lobes of the dorsal, anal, and pectoral fins produce into long filaments as the fish ages. Identification of the rock beauty is based upon the distinctive coloration rather than body morphology. They are most commonly harvested for the aquarium trade, even though their specific diets and territoriality make them a difficult species to keep in captivity.

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