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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Garden Eels Habitat (Tropical Diver)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs from the east Philippines, Micronesia and New Guinea to French Polynesia and the Eastern Indian Ocean at the Christmas and Cocos-Keeling Islands.
  • Common and abundant in certain areas of its range, but remains rare in Australia and New Guinea.
  • Found in coral-rich lagoons and seaward reefs in water depths to 82 feet (25 m), but usually is encountered in more shallow waters. 

Physical Characteristics

  • As name suggests, it is bright yellow in color with a blue edge on its cheek spine. Sometimes displays a blue ring around its eyes and has blue markings on the edges of its dorsal, anal and caudal fins.
  • Juvenile displays a blue-rimmed black spot on each side of its body.
  • Reaches 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length. It and other members of the genus Centropyge are smaller than most other angelfish.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of filamentous algae.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Generally spawns in the evening at about sunset within a short 8-10 minute period.
  • The female quickly swims up into the water column followed by a larger male who presses his snout against the female’s abdomen.
  • Eggs and sperm are released into the surrounding water and are fertilized as the parents quickly return back down to the reef bottom.
  • The female sheds all of her eggs during one trip.
  • The male repeats this process with each member of the harem.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Sometimes hybridizes with close relatives: Eibl’s angelfish and pearlscale angelfish.
  • Mimicked by the juvenile surgeonfish Acanthurus pyroferus, which has the shape and color pattern of the lemonpeel and mimics its manner of swimming. This behavior likely allows the small surgeonfish to fool larger predators who would usually avoid preying on the angelfish due to their spines and elusive habit of darting in and out of the reef crevices.
  • Sometimes is solitary, but usually lives in pairs or small groups called “harems.”
  • Tends to form harems made up of a single, larger male and two to five females. If the dominant male in a harem dies, the most dominant female can take its place by undergoing a sex reversal over a period of two to three months.


Reef Fish. Thresher, R. E., pgs. 39, 43 - 44
Reef Fish Identification - Tropical Pacific. Allen, G.; Steene, R.; Humann, P. and  Deloach, N., pg. 33
A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Allen, G.; Steene, R. and Allen, M., 
pgs. 9 -10, 12, 45