Fish Lab - Ecology

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Swallowtail Angelfishes
(Genus Genicanthus)

Lamarck's angelfish is one of the most common members of the swallowtail angelfish genus. Learn more about this black-sheep of the angelfish family in this article!

In the animal kingdom one can find numerous cases where unrelated species, that have similar life-styles, share both anatomical and behavioral characteristics. For example, the angelfishes of the genus Genicanthus, unlike most members of the family Pomacanthidae, regularly capture zooplankton well away from the substrate. The members of this genus, which are commonly referred to as swallowtail angelfishes, are more similar in overall appearance to other zooplankton feeders than they are to members of their own family. In fact when many divers first encounter a member of this genus they often find it difficult to believe that they are looking at an angelfish, because these fishes look nothing like the more familiar coral beauty, emperor angelfish or regal angelfish. Although they have diverged from the what most of us think an angelfish should look like, they do posses all the characteristics that define members of the family Pomacanthidae.

In this Coral Realm Feature Article we will take a look at this unique group of angelfishes. We will examine their biology, as well as their social and reproductive behavior. There is also a photo gallery that includes 13 photos of swallowtail angelfish.


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