The French angelfish ( Pomacanthus paru) are common in shallow rocky areas as well as coral reefs. They are known to find mates early in their life cycle, in which they remain with until death. These angelfish can be found in common Florida, Bahamas, Gulf of Mexico and south of Brazil, Occasionally being spotted in the Bahamas.
The French angelfish feeds on sponges, algae, gorgonians and tunicates. Pairs are territorial with both male and female taking turns guarding their areas from predators and neighboring angelfish. The male and female are not easily to tell apart, with the only difference being that the female has a more “swollen” appearance during the reproductive season. Reproduction always occurs in the top of open substrates were fertilization is external. Once eggs are fertilized, they can attach to aquatic vegetation, bottom substrates and even other ocean fish species. Juvenile french angelfish serve as a cleaning station, in which it eats parasites off larger fish species such as Jacks, Snappers, Grunts, Surgeonfish and Wrasses. They are unique in the fact that once the chosen fish species is clean, the french angelfish will brusch the client with their pelvic fin, indicating that they are clean.
The French angelfish has a thin flat body with a lower protruding jaw that contains comb-like teeth. There is a spine at the corner of the preopercle bone and a pectoral fin that extends past the base of the anal fin once depressed. The scales are jet black lines in a bright golden yellow that make a circular shape on each side of the body . It has a yellow bar at the base of the pectoral fin and a yellow filament in the dorsal. Juveniles can be distinguished from adults in that they have a full black body with three vertical yellow bands.
We first spotted the French angelfish on May 24th in the deep water coral patches of the Coffins Patch site . We were also able to locate them at Looe Key site where they were almost always found in pairs. They are not listed as endangered, and are often popular food choices for people who enjoy seafood. If you are a beginning diver looking for a fun yet interesting fish to photograph, the French angelfish is exactly what you're looking for!