I shared some images of Caribbean Pomacanthids a little earlier, so I thought I’d better balance things out with some angels from the Red Sea region. My first is one of my favorite fish and one that I knew the name of well before I ever became interested in diving or aquaria, a fish with such amazing markings and colors that it just ‘jumped off the page’ from the nature books I used to love as a kid. This is the Emperor Angel, Pomacanthus imperator. It’s a fish many folk are familiar with and I suspect many are equally familiar with its juvenile markings. I’ve never managed to shoot a juvenile in the Red Sea, so this is a Maldivian specimen.
The adults are super wary and in hundreds of dives I’ve never managed to get close enough to get a decent series of images, but at least you can see this one in its natural environment, picking the choicest morsels of sponge and other foodstuffs as it makes its way across the reef.
My next fish is one I’ve had more success with, the Yellowbar Angel (P. maculosus). This is a real whopper and one of the biggest of its kind, reaching to half a meter! It is found from the Red Sea down to the Seychelles.
I’ve shot several fish here, as you can see from the detail on their yellow blotch. I have always assumed these markings are entirely unique to each fish, though I only have my personal observations to back that up.
Happily, this is one of the least shy of its clan and I was able to spend quite some time with these fish, as long as I didn’t push my luck.