Holacanthus isabelita

Super Group: 
Jordan & Rutter 1898
Angelichthys isabelita (Jordan & Rutter 1898)
Holacanthus ciliaris bermudensis (Goode 1876)
Holacanthus bermudensis (Goode 1876)


Diagnosis_Genus: Holacanthus Lacepède. Teeth are small, flexible and mobile; body and tail are very compressed; small scales on the dorsal or other fins, or the height of the upper body or at least equal to its length; the opening of the mouth is small; muzzle is more or less advanced; one or more long spines and serrated points at seal; a single dorsal fin.

Diagnosis_Species: Angelichthys isabelita Jordan & Rutter. (Angel-Fish) Head 32/5; depth 13/5; eye 31/2 in head (young); snout 27/8. D. XIV, 18; A. III, 19. Body nearly oval, anterior profile very steep, much steeper than in Holacanthus ciliaris, the lips not projecting; length of head scarcely greater than its depth below top of eye; preorbital 3/4 as broad as eye, without any indication of a spine; preopercular spine strong, 4/5 length of eye, 33/4 in head, 3 or 4 very short stout spines on upper limb, the longest about 5 in spine at angle, 1 on lower limb; 1 spine on interopercle; premaxillary not very broad on top, very protractile, not projecting beyond anterior profile; interorbital greater than preorbital, equal to distance between eye and upper end of gill opening; furrow in front of eye indistinct; dorsal and anal falcate, the filamentous tips reaching much beyond caudal; pectoral obliquely rounded, equal to head, the lower rays very short; ventral spine 13/7 in head, the filamentous rays reaching origin of anal, about 1/5 longer than head; caudal rounded, longer than head, but shorter than ventral, lateral line ceasing before reaching end of dorsal, the scales below regularly arranged, those above nearly so. Color in life, yellowish brown on sides, each scale with a darker or orange spot; back shaded with violet, which grows brighter and merges into intense sky blue along the edges of spinous dorsal and on the region before the dorsal; scales of dorsal region with brown spots like those on sides; head paler; the upper lip yellowish; lower jaw reddish; spines of preopercle and edge of opercle very bright sky blue; iris yellow, marked above and below by blue; a blue bar extending from in front of first dorsal spine halfway to eye; breast sky blue; pectoral sky blue at base, then broadly golden, its edge pale; ventrals golden; posterior edge and produced lobes of dorsal and anal golden yellow, caudal broadly edged with yellow; no distinct ocellus at nape, and no dark-blue edgings to soft dorsal and anal. This species is closely related to Angelichthys ciliaris, but differs decidedly in the color markings, especially those of the nape and dorsal, in the great depth of the head, and in the nonprojecting mouth; also somewhat in general contour of body. Florida Keys and probably neighboring waters; common; reaching a large size.

Body_adults_length_max: 45 cm
Weight_adult_max: 3 kg
Body_egg_length: 0.70 mm (transparent and spherical) (Richards, 2009)
Body_larval_newly hatched_length: 2.5 mm (Richards, 2009)
Body_larval_flexion_length: 3.5 mm (Richards, 2009)
Body_juvenile_settlement_length: 20 mm (Richards, 2009)
Body_juvenile_length: < 10-20 cm (Richards, 2009)
Sequence_12sRNA: AY530835 (Bellwood et al. 2004)
Sequence_16sRNA: AY530867 (Bellwood et al. 2004)


The etymology of the genus Holacanthus comes from the Greek “olos” = entire, whole and “akantha” = spine, to evidence the great spine on the operculum and the presence of interopercular spines. In short, it is a totally spiny fish. The specific name bermudensis, comes from the Latin and means “from Bermuda”, in reference to the presence of this species along the coast of this islands and to the fact that one of the syntypes (individuals used by the author to describe the species) was collected by Goode in this islands.

Type illustration / Type locality / Type specimen

Type specimen: SU 363. This description is based on the type, a single specimen 41/4 inches long, from Key West, Florida, Monroe, collected by Dr. Jordan. (Isabelita, the Spanish name.)
Type locality: Key West, Florida


Holacanthus isabelita has a restricted distribution in Bermuda, along the entire Atlantic coast of the US from North Carolina south, and throughout the Gulf of Mexico (Campbell et al., 2010).
Holacanthus isabelita is a non migratory species (Richards, 2009).
Substrate: water
Sociability: solitary
Salinity: marine
pH: 7.8-8.5
Temperature: 24-28°C
Habitat: coastal
Depth: 1-60 m (Richards, 2009)
Depth_eggs: pelagic (Richards, 2009)
Depth_larvae: pelagic (Richards, 2009)
Oxygen_level: oxic

Life cycle

The life span of the Holocanthus isabelita is about 15-20 years.
Longevity: more than 3 years
Reproduction_mode: sexual_hermaphrodite_protogynous
Fecondity_number_of_eggs_per_adult: 25-75.000 eggs per spawning (Richards, 2009)
Spawning_method: external fertilization in the water column
Fertility_period: no seasonal (Richards, 2009)

Feeding behaviour


Mode of locomotion

Motility: motile_swimming


Observation site(s)


Displaying 1 - 1 of 1
Association with... Region origin Name of site In reference...
Amyloodinium ocellatum Aquarium Zoological Society of London

ASQME static network (beta)

ASQME dynamic network (beta)

ASQME map (beta)