Monument Features

Creature Feature: Masked Angelfish

Male Masked Angel at Pearl and Hermes Atoll.
Male Masked Angel at Pearl and Hermes Atoll. Photo Credit: Yumi Yasutake

The masked angelfish (Genicanthus personatus) is a rare species found most abundantly in the Northwestern Islands. This specimen is found in progressively higher concentrations as one goes west to the Northwestern Islands, indicating a preference for cooler waters. The species was first discovered in 1972 when a female specimen was found near Waikiki. Since then, male specimens have been found and the species was re-described to include sexually dichromatic differences. While the female is predominantly white with a black coloration from its lips to its gill cover and gill spine, the male counterpart is known for its bright yellow-orange colored dorsal, anal and pelvic fins. These species are protogynous hermaphrodites and generally change genders after reaching a size of about six to seven inches.

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