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Emperor Angelfish

Emperor Angelfish

Pomacanthus imperator

An adult emperor angelfish has a dark stripe across its eye area. The stripe resembles a mask and is meant to confuse predators. Its body is vibrantly colored, with alternating stripes in blue and yellow. However, a juvenile looks so different from an adult that it was once believed to be a different type of angelfish. Its body is dark blue with white and electric blue rings.

Male emperor angelfish are territorial, and they will defend their living space, as well as the few females they share it with. This area can be as large as 10,760 square feet. The males are so territorial that they may even attack other male emperor angelfish who try to enter their living space.

Did You Know?

Both males and females change color during courtship and mating.


It is omnivorous, eating both small invertebrates and plants. It prefers sponges and algae.


Up to 15 inches long.


Coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, have been reported off the coast of Hawaii.

Population Status

Least Concern on IUCN Red List.


Not noted in reputable sources, but presumably larger fish, sharks, marine mammals.

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