Emperor Angelfish

(Pomacanthus imperator)

  • Animal Type


  • Exhibits

    Blacktip Reef

  • Range

    Indian Ocean

    Pacific Ocean


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. Males may even attack other male emperor angelfish who try to enter their living space.

Quick Facts

Learn more about the emperor angelfish! Did you know that both males and females change color during courtship and mating?

Emperor angelfish can be found in coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian oceans, and have been reported off the coast of Hawaii.

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

The emperor angelfish can grow to be up to 15 inches long.

The emperor angelfish is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

There are no predators of the emperor angelfish noted in reputable sources, but presumably, larger fish, sharks and marine mammals prey on these fish.

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