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Species profile—Centropyge tibicen (keyhole angelfish)


Animalia (animals) → Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) → Pomacanthidae (anglefishes) → Centropyge tibicen (keyhole angelfish)

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Species details

Animalia (animals)
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Pomacanthidae (anglefishes)
Scientific name
Centropyge tibicen (Cuvier, 1831)
Common name
keyhole angelfish
WildNet taxon ID
Conservation significant
Wetland status
Wetland Dependant Species
Pest status
The keyhole angelfish is a deep, dark blue colour with a variable size white spot centrally on the side. Adults develop a broad yellow margin on the anal fin and a yellow ventral (belly) fin. The tail and rear of the dorsal fin (along the spine) have a thin light blue outer margin. They grow to a maximum length of 15cm.
The keyhole angelfish is found in the tropical marine waters of the Western Pacific, from southern Japan, through the Indonesian archipelego to Australia, New Caledonia and Fiji. In Australia the species occurs from the Capricorn Group on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland to Merimbula, New South Wales; including Elizabeth Reef and Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea; and from Houtman Abrolhos to North West Cape, Western Australia; including Scott Reef, Ashmore and Cartier Islands in the Timor Sea. It is also known from the territory of Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean.
Distributional limits
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Species environment
This species inhabits shallow protected coral reefs in ledges and around rocky boulders. They are found along the silty coastline through to pristine outer reef habitat.
Adults are often in small loose groups and juveniles are solitary. Male angelfish defend their territory by driving away other male competitors. This is performed in order to maintain access to a mate. Like many angelfish species, the keyhole angelfish probably shelters in caves or coral crevices.
For many species of angelfish, spawning (mating) occurs at dusk. Usually a single pair, although sometimes a small group, will congregate off the ocean bottom. When a female arrives nearby, the male performs a courtship display. This involves erecting his fins and swimming rapidly back and forth. Then the male and female swim spiralling toward the surface, where they simultaneously shed eggs and sperm, before returning to the ocean bottom. The eggs are less than 1mm in diameter and hatch 15-20 hours later.
The keyhole angelfish probably feeds on algae on the reef bottom, like many other angelfish species.
Contributors: Mellisa Mayhew 16/10/2008; Wayne Martin 09/11/2008
Egerton, L. (ed.) (2005). Encyclopedia of Australian Wildlife, (Revised Edition). Readers Digest Pty Ltd, Sydney.
Froese, R. & Pauly, D. (eds). (2008). FishBase, version (09/2008). World Wide Web electronic publication, Accessed 09/11/2008 .
Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. (2006). Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia, Volume 35.2, p. 1305. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood.
Kuiter, R.H. (1996). Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland Ltd, Sydney.
Profile author
Mellisa Mayhew (09/11/2008)

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Data source

This profile data is sourced from the QLD Wildlife Data API using the Get species by ID function used under CC-By 4.0.

This information is sourced from the WildNet database managed by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

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Last updated
8 March 2022