Cocos-Keeling Angelfish, Centropyge colini Smith-Vaniz & Randall 1974

Other Names: Blueback Pygmy Angelfish, Colin's Angelfish, Colin's Pygmy Angelfish

Colin's Angelfish, Centropyge colini, at the Blue Holes, Palau. Source: David Burdick / License: All rights reserved


A lemon-yellow pygmy angelfish with a broad purplish-blue patch on the back and dorsal fin, and a narrow purplish ring around the eye. Occurs in small family groups with a dominant male and several females.

Video of a pair of Cocos-Keeling Angelfish (aka Colin's Angelfish) in an aquarium.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2024, Centropyge colini in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024,

Cocos-Keeling Angelfish, Centropyge colini Smith-Vaniz & Randall 1974

More Info


Recorded from the Coral Sea off Queensland, and the Australian territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the tropical east-Indo-west-central Pacific (Indonesia, Palau, Marshall Islands, north to southern Japan).

This rare, secretive species inhabits deep caves and crevices on steep outer reef slopes and drop-offs.


Dorsal fin XIV, 16-17; Anal fin III, 17; Pectoral fin 15-16; Longitudinal scale series 47-48.


Little known of the biology and ecology - forms harems of 3-7 individuals, with a male and several females. If the male disappears, the most dominant female will change sex to become a male.


Rarely collected for sale in the aquarium fish industry.


The species is named in honour of Patrick L. Colin,  for his contributions to the success of the expedition during which types of this species and Centropyge joculator were collected.

Species Citation

Centropyge colini Smith-Vaniz & Randall, 1974, Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci., Philad. 126: 110, figs 2, 4-6. Type locality: Turks Reef, Cocos-Keeling Islands (12°06'30"S, 96°49'35"E). 


Bray, D.J. 2024


Atlas of Living Australia

Cocos-Keeling Angelfish, Centropyge colini Smith-Vaniz & Randall 1974


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

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

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

Hobbs, J.-P.A., Ayling, A.M., Choat, J.H., Gilligan, J.J., McDonald, C.A., Neilson, J. & Newman, S.J. 2010. New records of marine fishes illustrate the biogeographic importance of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Zootaxa 2422: 63–68.

Hobbs, J-P.A., S .J. Newman, G.E.A. Mitsopoulos, M.J. Travers, C.L. Skepper, J.J. Gilligan, G.R. Allen, H.J. Choat & A.M. Ayling. 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. See ref online

Hobbs, J-P.A., S .J. Newman, G.E.A. Mitsopoulos, M.J. Travers, C.L. Skepper, J.J. Gilligan, G.R. Allen, H.J. Choat & A.M. Ayling. 2014. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands: new records, community composition and biogeographic significance. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 203–219. See ref online

Kuiter, R.H., Debelius, H. & Tanaka, H. 2003. Pomacanthidae, a Comprehensive Guide to Angelfishes. Melbourne : Zoonetics 206 pp.

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. A comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia. Guam : Coral Graphics vi 330 pp. 192 pls.

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.

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.

Senou, H. & O. Morishita. 2003. New record of an angelfish, Centropyge colini (Perciformes: Pomacanthidae) from Japan. I. O. P. Diving News 14(7): 2-4. [In Japanese, English abstract.]

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & Randall, J.E. 1974. Two new species of angelfishes (Centropyge) from the Cocos-Keeling Islands. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 126: 105-113.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37365088


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:20-100 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish (rare)

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:9 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map