Queen angelfish (Laszlo Ilyes / CC BY)

Angelfish (Pomacanthidae) have colorful, laterally compressed bodies. In contrast to butterflyfish, they are armed with strong spines on their gill covers. Size varies greatly among the different species, ranging from 6 centimeters (2.4 inches, Centropyge multicolor) to 50 centimeters (19.7 inches, yellowbar angelfish or Pomacanthus maculosos) in length. Note that the name “angelfish” is ambiguous, since other unrelated groups are sometimes named angelfish too, such as the freshwater angelfish, tropical cichlids, Atlantic pomfret, angel shark, ringstraked guitarfish, and Atlantic spadefish.

Inhabits the Indo-Pacific Ocean.

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This supplemental online resource accompanies the book Scuba Diving Hand Signals by Lars Behnke, available on Amazon.