Royal angelfish

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Royal angelfish
Pygoplites diacanthus by Jacek Madejski.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Pomacanthidae
Genus: Pygoplites
Fraser-Brunner, 1933
Species: P. diacanthus
Binomial name
Pygoplites diacanthus
(Boddaert, 1772)

The royal angelfish (Pygoplites diacanthus) or regal angelfish, is a species of marine angelfish of the family Pomacanthidae, and the monotypic genus Pygoplites. It is found in tropical Indo-Pacific oceans. It can grow as long as 25 cm.


The body of the Regal Angelfish is moderately elongate and is very compressed. The preorbital bone convex and has no strong spines. There is 1 prominent spine at an angle at the preopercal. The ventral edge of the interopercle is smooth. The eyes are moderately small along with the mouth that is terminal. The mouth is also protractile.[1] They have a maximum length of 25.0 cm.[2] They have a total of 14 dorsal spines, and 17-19 soft dorsal rays. They have 3 anal spines and 17-19 anal soft rays. They also have 16-17 pectoral fin rays.[3] Their caudal fin is rounded. Their body coloring is edged in blue-white and orange stirpes that are narrow and angle back. The posterior portion of dorsal fin is black with close-set blue dots, and the posterior portion of anal fin has alternating yellow and blue bands running parallel to body contour. The caudal fin is yellow. Juveniles are colored with a large dark spot on basal portion of the soft dorsal fin.[1] They have been reported of living 15 years.[2]


Pygoplites diacanthus is a marine species.[2] They occur in coral rich areas of lagoons and seaward reefs.[1] They can be found at depths ranging from 0 to 80m.[2] They are often found in the vicinity of caves.[1] They prefer tropical climates. Frequently exported through the aquarium trade, but rarely survives in the aquarium.[2]


The Regal Angelfish is widely distributed throughout the Indo-Pacific.[3] The species can be found in the Red Sea and East Africa to the Tuamoto Islands.[2] They can be found northward to the Ryukyu Islands(Japan).[1] They are found by Ogasawara islands(Japan) as well.[2] They can be found south to New Caledonia (France) and the great Barrier Reef.[3] They are found to be widely distributed around coral reefs in Taiwan.[1] Recent research however, indicates that the genus Pygoplites comprises two morphs. The two variants may hybridize at Christmas Island.[3]


Pygoplites diacanthus is a carnivoreous species.[2] They feed on sponges and tunicates which are often located in reefs and in caves.[3] They are a non-migratory species.[2] They can be found solitary, in pairs or in groups.[1] The juveniles usually shelter in cracks and crevices.[3]

Human Uses[edit]

There is very minor commercial use for the Pygoplites diacanthus.[2] Although commonly traded in the aquarium industry, this species is reportedly difficult to maintain in captivity.[3]

In the aquarium[citation needed][edit]

Pygoplites diacanthus in the Maldives, Indian Ocean

Although it is frequently exported through the aquarium trade it rarely survives in the aquarium.

Usually specimens abused during shipment, more likely caught by drugging, will refuse to eat anything, including live fare.

However, given the right environment, specifically with smaller and docile tankmates like gobies and dwarf angels, it will start feeding within days when fed brine shrimp, brine shrimp plus flakes, and further progressing to regular frozen foods and a certain brand of cichlid pellets which this species seem to crave.

With a hostile environment with fellow large angels, puffers, and triggers, and certain clowns, it will almost certainly fail to acclimate and slowly die of starvation due to its shyness to start feeding.

Survivability of feeding specimens seem to equal to the other Pomacanthids.

Fresh water dips may be required to rid newly arrived specimens of flukes and ick which this species is especially prone to.

The prior myth that only yellow-bellied variations from Sri Lanka and the Red Sea will survive points to the fact that specimens from the Philippines and Indonesia are often abused when collected[citation needed].

Threat to Humans[edit]

The Royal Angelfish is considered to be harmless to humans.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Pygoplites diacanthus - Regal Angelfish -- Discover Life". Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Pygoplites diacanthus summary page". FishBase. Retrieved 2017-04-27. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Pygoplites diacanthus". Retrieved 2017-04-27.