Clarion Angelfish, Holacanthus clarionensis
The Clarion Angelfish, Holacanthus clarionensis, whose common Spanish name is ángel de Clarión, is a species in the Angelfish or Pomacanthidae Family, known collectively as ángeles in Mexico. Globally, there are eleven species in the genus Holocanthus, five of which are found in Mexican waters, three in the Atlantic and two in the Pacific.
These fish have deep compressed rectangular shaped bodies and vary significantly in color. They generally have brownish orange bodies, dark brown heads, a broad bright orange band behind the head, and an orange caudal fin. Juveniles are brownish orange with narrow blue stripes on the head and sides; these stripes narrow with maturity. They have a small mouth with brush-like teeth and their gill covers have a long spine attached. They feature a single continuous dorsal fin with 14 spines and 17 to 19 rays. Their anal and dorsal fins end in filaments and are normally highly colored; their caudal fins are straight with extended outside edges. Their bodies are covered with rough scales.
The Clarion Angelfish reside over and within rocky reefs at depths up to 100 feet. They are found either as solitary individuals or in aggregations. They reach a maximum length of 30.3 cm (11.9 inches); this length was established by a fish that is now in my possession. They are a rare and poorly studied species and as such very limited information is available about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters the Clarion Angelfish has a limited distribution being found only around the southern tip of Baja and the oceanic islands.
The Clarion Angelfish, although rare, are an easy fish to identify due to their unique coloration and are therefore difficult to confuse with other species.
When caught, they are only retained by subsistence fishermen, thus are typically considered a “catch and release.”