Volume 6    Number 1

Queen Angelfish at Barkadera Reef, Bonaire

Queen Angelfish at Barkadera Reef, Bonaire

The Queen Angelfish is one of the most spectacular and most bashful of all the reef fish. I have seen many of these beautiful Queen Angelfish in the reefs of the Caribbean, but most of the time they see me and just swim away. Even when they get close they often would tilt their bodies so I couldn't see their sides, or hide behind or in a coral, or swim deeper than I wanted to go, or just generally not want to let me take their picture. So, I was absolutely thrilled to find this colorful and cooperative Queen Angelfish at Barkadera Reef near Bonaire.

Like most other Angelfishes, the Queen Angelfish is a medium-sized reef fish. Adults may be up to 18 inches long, and this fish was about 16 inches long. Queen Angelfish are often seen patrolling around the reef either alone or in pairs. Queen Angelfish eat invertebrates (that is, animals that don't have backbones) such as tunicates and jellyfish.

This Queen Angelfish had found something to eat in a crevice in the coralheads at the top of this picture. It would stick its head into the crevice to take a bite, then turn and start to swim away, then change its mind and turn back around to take another bite. We watched this Queen Angelfish for several minutes, as it must have turned back for another bite at least 60 times while we watched. I wonder what it had found that tasted so good.

This Queen Angelfish has spectacular markings. Notice the bright blue circle on its head, like a queen's crown, that gives this Queen Angelfish its name. Each scale is blue with a bright yellow outline. The Queen Angelfish swims by paddling with its yellow pectoral fins. When it is in a big hurry and needs to swim fast, it swims by wiggling its bright yellow tail. Notice the blue markings on its gill plates, above and below its eyes, and on its mouth.

Compare this Queen Angelfish with some Queen Angelfish from Bimini on the ReefNews website, at
Read all about the island of Bonaire on the ReefNews website, at

ReefNews photographer Jonathan Dowell took this photo using a Canon 10D digital camera with a Canon 28-105 mm zoom lens in an Ikelite housing with an Ikelite strobe.



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