Whitetail Angelfish, Centropyge fisheri Snyder 1904

Other Names: Damsel Angelfish, Fisher's Angel Fish, Fisher's Angelfish, Fisher's Dwarf Angelfish, Fishers Pygmy Angel, White-tail Angelfish

A Whitetail Angelfish, Centropyge fisheri, at North Point, Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Rick Stuart-Smith / Lizard Island Field Guide http://lifg.australianmuseum.net.au/Hierarchy.html. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A deep blue to orange-brown pygmy angelfish with an almost transparent whitish to pale yellow caudal fin, bright blue margins on the dorsal, anal fins and pelvic fins, and blue dashes along the rear edge of the dorsal and anal fins.

The Whitetail Angelfish was previously referred to as Centropyge flavicauda (a junior synonym) in various publications treating Australian fishes.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2024, Centropyge fisheri in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2500

Whitetail Angelfish, Centropyge fisheri Snyder 1904

More Info


Offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to Cook Island, New South Wales, with juveniles south to Bass Point; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific, occurring throughout the Indo-west and central Pacific, from East Africa (Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania) in the east, throughout the Indo-Malayan region and tropical Pacific to the Hawaiian Islands and Johnston Atoll, and the Tuamotu Archipelago - north to southern Japan and south to the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

Inhabits coral rubble areas in lagoon channels and outer reef slopes.


Variable in colour ranging from a dark purplish-black over head, body and median fins, to dusky orange on head, chest, dorsal and anal fins fading to orange-brown centrally on body; dorsal and anal fins with a narrow blue margin; posterior part of dorsal and anal fins with narrow alternating blue and black (or blue and orange) markings; paler individuals with a dark blotch anteriorly on side of body, dorsal to pectoral fin and posterior to operculum; pectoral fins transparent; pelvic fins ranging from black to yellow with a blue pelvic spine; caudal fin a translucent yellowish.


Herbivore - feeds on algae.


Protogynous hermaphrodite.


The species is traded in the aquarium industry.

Species Citation


Bray, D.J. 2024


Atlas of Living Australia

Whitetail Angelfish, Centropyge fisheri Snyder 1904


Allen, G.R. 1980. Butterfly and Angelfishes of the World. New York : John Wiley & Sons Vol. 2 pp. 149-352 figs 214-510.

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp. (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Allen, G.R., Steene, R. & Allen, M. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Cairns : Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research 250 pp. figs.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Fraser-Brunner, A. 1933. A revision of the chaetodont fishes of the subfamily Pomacanthinae. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1933(2): 543-599 figs 1-29 pl. 1 (described as Centropyge flavicauda)

Gaither, M.R., J.K. Schultz, D. Bellwood, R.L. Pyle, J.D. DiBattista, L.A. Rocha & B.W. Bowen. 2014. Evolution of pygmy angelfishes: recent divergences, introgression, and the usefulness of color in taxonomy. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 74: 38–47.

Hobbs, J.-P.A., Frisch, A.J. Hender, J. & Gilligan, J.J. 2007. New records of angelfishes (Pomacanthidae) and butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae) from Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) islands, Indian Ocean. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 90: 107-109. (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202 https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/rbz/supplement-no-30/

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S .J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands: new records, community composition and biogeographic significance. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 203–219 https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/rbz/supplement-no-30/

Hobbs, J-P.A., van Herwerden, L., Jerry, D.R., Jones, G.P. & Munday, P.L. 2013. High genetic diversity in geographically remote populations of endemic and widespread coral reef angelfishes (genus: Centropyge). Diversity 5: 39-50. doi:10.3390/d5010039 (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western  Australian Museum 20: 247-270 (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Pyle, R. 2001. Chaetodontidae, Pomacanthidae. pp. 3224-3286 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp. (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Pyle, R.L. 2003. A systematic treatment of the reef-fish family Pomacanthidae (Pisces: Perciformes). Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Hawai’i, Honolulu, 422 pp.

Pyle, R. & Myers, R. 2010. Centropyge fisheri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. . Downloaded on 14 February 2015.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Schindler, I. & Schneidewind, F. 2004: Revision of Centropyge fisheri (Snyder, 1904) (Teleostei, Pomacanthidae). Zeitschrift für Fischkunde 7(1): 31-42.

Snyder, J.O. 1904. A catalogue of the shore fishes collected by the steamer Albatross about the Hawaiian Islands in 1902. Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission 22: 513-538 figs 1-13 See ref at BHL

Steene, R.C. 1978. Butterfly and Angelfishes of the World. Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed Vol. 1 144 pp. 216 figs. (as Centropyge flavicauda)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37365025

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-60 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:7.5 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map