SeaFocus - scuba diving reviews, images and information
Juvenile emperor angelfish


Underwater photography: images of angelfish taken while scuba diving
Clarion angelfish | Arabian angelfish | Queen angelfish | Emperor angelfish | French angelfish | Blue-ringed angelfish
Family: Pomacanthidae - Angelfishes Order: Perciformes Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)

Marine angelfish are from the Pomacanthidae family which contains seven genera and about 86 species. There are freshwater angelfish or tropical cichlids (Pterophyllum) found in the Amazon.

The angelfish most divers see tend to be larger marine species from the Holocanthus and Pomocanthus groups rather than dwarf angels from the Centropyge group. The most important or defining feature of marine angelfish is the distinct spine or thorn that forms part of their gill covers. This characteristic is how they earned their Greek name, Pomacanthidae meaning cover and akantha meaning thorn.

Other body features include small mouths, relatively large pectoral fins and rounded tail fins. Some, like Arabian angels, have streamer-like extensions of the soft dorsal and anal fins. The largest species is the grey angelfish at around 60 centimetres while dwarf angels only reach about 15 centimetres. Smaller angelfish are easily confused with butterflyfish as they have a similar shape, but spot that thorn and you know you’re looking at an angelfish.

image gallery

click any image to enlarge
Int. = intermediate stage
Juv.= juvenile

Angelfish are regarded as a threatened species
Angelfish encounters
Happy Valley
12 metres
Pomacanthus paru
French angelfish

French angelfish are prolific on the dives around the edges of Grand Anse Bay and encountered on almost all dives. They are seen as very small juveniles through to adults at around 40 centimetres.

The one in this image is an intermediate stage or teenage angelfish. It was very curious so fairly easy to photograph.

french angelfish in Grenada
SPECIES NAMES | Many fish can be hard to identify as they are so similar. Common names vary and even scientists disagree on what is what. If you can name anything we can't, please get in touch.

ORDER | Images on this page are available to buy as prints. Take a note of the name then go to the
order form...

SEARCH SeaFocus | Looking for something on this site? Type in a few words below...