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Species profile—Genicanthus watanabei (Watanabe's angelfish)


Animalia (animals) → Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) → Pomacanthidae (anglefishes) → Genicanthus watanabei (Watanabe's angelfish)

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Species details

Animalia (animals)
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Pomacanthidae (anglefishes)
Scientific name
Genicanthus watanabei (Yasuda & Tominaga, 1970)
Common name
Watanabe's angelfish
WildNet taxon ID
Conservation significant
Wetland status
Wetland Dependant Species
Pest status
Males and females of this species are quite different in appearance. They are both light bluish-grey and have a dark dorsal fin. Males have a series of longitudinal black lines along most of the lower body and anal fin. Females have a black bar edged in blue above the eye and a black base on the pectoral fin, behind the gills. They grow to a maximum length of 18cm.
Watanabe's angelfish is found in tropical marine waters of the Pacific Ocean, from Taiwan to the Tuamoto Islands, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to New Caledonia and Australia. In Australia the species occurs from Osprey Island in the Coral Sea to Escape Reef on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.
Distributional limits
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Species environment
Watanabe's angelfish is usually found in water deeper than 20m on outer reef walls.
Male angelfish defend their territory by driving away other male competitors. This is performed in order to maintain access to a mate. Like most angelfish, they probably shelter under boulders or in crevices on the reef.
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.
Angelfish of the Genicanthus genus forage on zooplankton.
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. 1307. 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)

Other resources

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
20 May 2024