IdentificationThe queen angelfish has a moderately large body that is deep and compressed. It can be distinguished from its nearest relatives, butterﬂyﬁsh, by its stout spines, its blunter snout, and the spines on the gill cover. It has 14 dorsal spines, and the spine at the angle of the preopercle is relatively long.
Most noteworthy about the appearance of the queen angelﬁsh is its coloration. It is speckled yellowish-orange and blue, and the amount of blue varies with the individual and differs in intensity. It has a bright blue border on the soft dorsal and anal ﬁns, with the tips of the ﬁns colored orange and the last few rays of them colored bluish-black. It also has a yellowish-orange tail, as well as a dark bluish-black spot on the forehead, ringed with bright blue, which forms the queen’s “crown.”
The coloring of the young queen angelﬁsh is dark blue and similar to that of young blue angelﬁsh, but the rear edges of the dorsal and the anal ﬁns are not yellow, as they are in the blue angelﬁsh. There are bluish-white bars on the body of the queen angelﬁsh, as with the blue angelﬁsh, but these are curved on the queen angelﬁsh, instead of straight.
Angelﬁsh in the Caribbean are generally brighter in color than those along the coasts of North and South America.