French angelfish

Pomacanthus paru

Family Pomacanthidae - angelfishes

Body deep, oval, laterally flattened; color and shape differ between adults and juveniles: In adults, body is dark, blackish, scales with bright yellow crescents on edges; eye with yellow ring; yellow at base of pectoral fins; dorsal and anal fins with elongate rays about the middle of the fins, elongated rays are yellow, hind margins of fins are concave; preopercle flap serrated with large spine at base; mouth small. In juveniles, body color is black with 5 yellow bars across head and body (1 on upper lip, 1 behind the eye, 1 mid-body, 1 posterior circling the tail, 1 at base of tail); tail fin with translucent edge, sometimes with wide triangular black spot preceded by yellow bar; some bluish color on tips of pelvic fins and at angle of anal fin; no elongated rays in dorsal and anal fins.
Similar Species
The gray angelfish, P. arcuatus, has a grayish body and a white snout. In juveniles the yellow bar on the mouth crosses both the upper and lower lip (only on the upper lip in French angelfishes) and the black spot on the tail is narrow and elongated. In species of Holacanthus, the hind edges of the anal and dorsal fins are straight or concave.
Gulf, common around reefs and platforms
Maximum Size
37 cm (15 in), common to 28 cm (11 in)
Fin Element Counts
D. X,29-31; A.III,22-24 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
Underwater photo courtesy of TPWD Artificial Reef Marine Species.
State size/bag limits