Lemonpeel Angelfish, Centropyge flavissima (Cuvier 1831)

Other Names: Lemon Peel, Yellow Angel-fish

A Lemonpeel Angelfish, Centropyge flavissima, at North Solitary Island, New South Wales, April 2015. Source: Ian Shaw / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A bright yellow angelfish, with a bluish or whitish ring around the eye, a blue blotch on the rear margin of the gill cover, preopercular spine blue, and a blue margin on the dorsal, anal and caudal fins. Juveniles have a large blue-edged black ocellus on the side.
Video showing the hand collection of Lemonpeel Angelfish at Holmes Reef in the Coral Sea.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Centropyge flavissima in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/640

Lemonpeel Angelfish, Centropyge flavissima (Cuvier 1831)

More Info


Northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea, Queensland, south to the Solitary Islands, New South Wales; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical East-Indo-west-central Pacific. 

Inhabits coral rich areas in lagoons and on seaward reefs, usually in shallow water above 20 m.


Dorsal fin XIV-XV 15-16: Anal fin II, 16; Lateral scale rows 44-50.


Feeds mostly on filamentous algae.


A protogynous hermaphrodite (changes sex from female to male). Usually seen in small haremic groups comprised of a single dominant male and several females. 


This species hybridises with Centropyge eibli and C. vrolikii. The species is also mimicked by juvenile Acanthurus pyroferus.


The specific name flavissima is from the Latin flavum (= yellow) and -issimus (= the most) in reference to the bright yellow colour of this species.

Species Citation

Holacanthus flavissimus Cuvier, 1831, Hist. Nat. Poiss: 197. Type locality: Uléa, Caroline Islands.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Lemonpeel Angelfish, Centropyge flavissima (Cuvier 1831)


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

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. & 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.

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

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1831. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 7 531 pp. pls 170-208.

De Vis, C.W. 1884. New fishes in the Queensland Museum. No. 2. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 9(3): 453-462 (described as Holacanthus sphynx, type locality Queensland)

DiBattista, J.D., Gaither, M.R., Hobbs, J.-P.A., Rocha, L.A. & Bowen, B.W. 2016. Angelfishes, paper tigers, and the devilish taxonomy of the Centropyge flavissima complex. Journal of Heredity2016: 647-653 https://doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esw06

DiBattista, J.D., Waldrop, E., Bowen, B.W. et al. 2012. Twisted sister species of pygmy angelfishes: discordance between taxonomy, coloration, and phylogenetics. Coral Reefs 31: 839–851. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-012-0907-y

Eldredge, L.G., 1994. Marine fishes. pp. 65-70 in Eldredge. L.G. Perspectives in aquatic exotic species management in the Pacific Islands. Vol. 1. Introductions of commercially significant aquatic organisms to the Pacific Islands. South Pacific Commission, New Caledonia.

Hobbs, J-PA. 2011. Poleward range expansion of a tropical coral reef fish (Centropyge flavissima) to Lord Howe Island, Australia. Marine Biodiversity Records 3: e118.

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

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

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. https://doi.org/10.3390/d5010039

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls.

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.

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

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls.

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. A field guide for divers and aquarists. Coral Graphics, Davie, FL.

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.

Pyle, R.L. & J.E. Randall. 1994. A review of hybridization in marine angelfishes (Perciformes: Pomacanthidae).  Environmental Biology of Fishes 41: 127-145.

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. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

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.

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

Sadovy de Mitcheson, Y. & Liu, M. 2008. Functional hermaphroditism in teleosts. Fish and Fisheries 9(1):1-43 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-2979.2007.00266.x

Shen, K.-N., Chang, C.-W., Delrieu-Trottin, E. & Borsa, P. 2016. Lemonpeel (Centropyge flavissima) and yellow (C. heraldi) pygmy angelfishes each consist of two geographically isolated sibling species. Marine Biodiversity: 1-15 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12526-016-0509-y

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

Steene, R.C. 1978. Butterfly and Angelfishes of the World. Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed Vol. 1 144 pp.

Vitelli, F., Hyndes, G.A., Saunders, B.J., Blake, D., Newman, S.J. & Hobbs, J-P.A. 2019. Do ecological traits of low abundance and niche overlap promote hybridisation among coral-reef angelfishes? Coral Reefs 38: 931–943 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00338-019-01816-6

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37365026


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-35 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:14 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map