Bahamas Angelfish

Nassau Snorkeling for Gray Angelfish, French Angelfish, and Queen Angelfish

Nassau snorkeling affords the enterprising scuba diver the opportunity to see many beautiful aquatic creatures. There are perhaps no creatures more beautiful, though, than this trio of angelfish species, the gray angelfish (Pomacanthus arcuatus), queen angelfish (Halocanthus ciliaris), and French angelfish (Pomacanthus Paru). Angelfish are extremely popular among both beginner and expert Bahamian scuba divers because of their graceful, beautiful form and because they are quite easy to find in the reef environment.

Predictably, the adult gray angelfish is a uniform gray in color. Juvenile gray angelfish are different from the adults in that they have yellow vertical bands that disappear when they mature. The queen angelfish is, because of its brilliant blue body and yellow tail, yellow fin tips, and yellow cheeks, the queen of the Caribbean. The scales of the French angelfish are black and complimented by bright yellow. The fish has an orange-yellow bar at the base its pectoral fin, with black fins. Juveniles have a brown or black body.

The gray angelfish can usually be found in pairs among coral reefs, generally near areas of considerable cover. The fish has a thin, discus-shaped body with a white-tipped mouth that is filled with comb-shaped teeth. The queen angelfish usually stays near the bottom of coral reef habitats, where the coral does not grow as heavily from lack of continuous sunlight. The fish is a found swimming alone or in couples near gargonians, and, if you cannot identify it based on its brilliant colors alone, look for its continuous dorsal fin. Found in very shallow coral reef habitats, the French angelfish seeks heavy coral cover to avoid nocturnal predators. The fish is very territorial, and much like the other angel fish discussed above, can be found by scuba divers swimming in pairs. The fish is friendly towards snorkelers and will swim very close to you if you are lucky.