Emperor angelfish

(Pomacanthus imperator)


Emperor angelfish IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The emperor angelfish is one of the best-known and most widespread angelfishes. It reaches a length of 40 cm. The distinguishing colour of the adult are a blue body crossed with diagonal yellow lines, a yellow tail, a light blue mouth and a blue-edged black band over the eyes. Juveniles are strikingly different having a pattern of concentric blue and white lines on a black body.

Emperor angelfish are relatively common and, as adults, inquisitive animals which may come quite close to divers. They are found on both coral and rocky reefs from shallow water down to depths of about 50 m. They live in pairs and swim about the reef with graceful unhurried movements. Although generally seen alone, the partner is usually nearby.

Emperor angelfish feed predominantly on encrusted sponges with algae but other invertebates are also eaten.

Name (Scientific) Pomacanthus imperator
Name (English) Emperor angelfish
Name (French) Poisson-ange empereur
Name (German) Imperator-Kaiserfisch
Name (Spanish) Pez ángel emperador
Local names Bahasa Indonesia: Ikan bidadari Emperor
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Albert Kok



Range Red Sea, Indian Ocean and Western Pacific
Habitat Coral reefs from surface to 100 m depth
Wild population Unknown
Zoo population Considering that most public aquaria are not part of the WAZA system and do not register their collections with ISIS, available ISIS data are not significant.

In the Zoo

Emperor angelfish


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 51 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.

Fish must be unpacked carefully and under low illumination.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Nick Hobgood

Why do zoos keep this animal

Emperor angelfish are not an endangered species but their habitats, coral reefs, are threatened in many places. They are thus presented by zoos and aquariums as an ambassador species for reef protection.