Gray Angelfish are not as colorful as French Angelfish and Queen Angelfish, but Gray Angelfish are a lot more fun to photograph. This Gray Angelfish was swimming near the reef at a depth of 40 feet. Almost gray all over, this fish has a pattern of white ovals on its scales and fins. Notice its light gray face, white mouth, and the yellow highlights on the backs of its pectoral fins. Gray Angelfish are not quite as shy as their French and Queen Angelfish relatives, making them fun to try to approach with a camera.
Gray Angelfish are common, and are found throughout the Caribbean. Gray Angelfish eat invertebrates, such as tunicates, coral polyps, and worms. Like other Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes, Gray Angelfish have tall, narrow bodies. Because they are so thin, they can turn quickly and can maneuver down into narrow cracks between the corals to hunt their prey. They swim by rowing with their pectoral fins. As they swim with these fins, the yellow highlights on the backs of the fins flash. Some scientists think that these "flashing taillights" help the male and female mated pairs to follow each other as they swim about the reef. The Gray Angelfish's long dorsal, anal, and caudal (tail) fins allow them to turn quickly. This adult Gray Angelfish was about 14 inches long.
Jonathan Dowell took this picture at a reef called Victory Reef near Cat Cay south of Bimini in September, 1999. He used a Nikonos V camera with a 28 mm lens and SB105 strobe.
Compare this Gray Angelfish to the French Angelfish and the Queen Angelfish. In what ways are they similar? In what ways are they different?
Learn more about the Coral Reefs of Bimini on the 2001 ReefNews CD-ROM
Bimini: Jewel of the Gulf Stream