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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sea Things #3: Queen Angelfish

Sea Things is a regular feature on my blog where I profile a different sea creature. Look for it weekly, or something close to weekly.

From Turks & Caicos Underwater (resize)

Queen Angelfishes are probably one of my favorite fishes.  How can they not be?  They are just too beautiful for words.  Their name comes from the "crown" that you see on the front of their heads, but they are definitely the most beautiful and colorful of all of the angelfish - at least in the Caribbean.  They can actually grow quite large - up to 3 1/2 pounds and 18 inches in length. 

For food, they tend to eat sponges and algae, sea fans, and soft corals.  They are often seen in pairs.  In fact, I've been told that angelfish in general mate for life, so, as British Divemaster Mark from Little Cayman says, "perhaps if you see one alone, it's a right ugly one."  As a result, I usually feel pretty terrible when I see an angel alone.

For the most part, I've found Queen Angels to be found mostly in deeper water (30-40 feet and below, but often I only seem them at 80 feet or more), and they are usually skittish and won't stay still for a photograph.  Many times, if I try to point a pair out to Todd, they're gone before I can show him, or they're so far below us that I know he won't be able to get a picture.  The most I've ever seen at once was in Turks & Caicos around Le Dome, near Provo.  However, I have seen them pretty much everywhere else that we've been as well.  The hand signal for a Queen Angel is to take one hand and point towards your forehead, moving your finger around in a circle, as if tracing the crown there.

Basically, if you're looking for a colorful, and striking fish in the Caribbean, this is the one for you.

From SCC Photo Contest

Is there a creature that you would like to see featured in Sea Things? If so, shoot me an email and if I can, I'll write about it.

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