Swallowtail Angelfish

Genicanthus Melanospilos
wallowtail Angelfish - Marinewise © 2024 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Genicanthus Melanospilos
Other names Black Spot Angelfish, Spotbreast Angelfish, Blackspot Lyretail Angelfish, Zebra Angelfish, Japanese Swallowtail Angelfish
Size Up to 18 cm (7.1 in)
Weight Under a kilo (2.2lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Offshore reef slopes, rocky areas interspersed with sand
Depth Range
Swallowtail Angelfish Distribution Australia

Interesting Info

  • The Swallowtail Angelfish are non-migratory, peaceful fish mostly found in pairs or small schools. Young fish stay in the shallows whilst adults can be found in up to 45 m (147 ft).
  • Swallowtail Angelfish one of the few angelfish to exhibit dramatic sexual dimorphism between sexes. Males have a series of vertical red stripes covering the entire body and their tail forked with yellow and blue colours. The female is yellow on top, turning blue towards the bottom. The caudal fin is marine-blue highlighted by a dark bluish/black edging.
  • These fish are omnivores and primarily feed on plankton, algae, sponges and other small invertebrates.
  • Estimates of lifespan are between 10 to 15 years.
  • They are protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning that they are all born female and the dominant fish change gender to male.
  • The main predators of angelfish include sharks, larger predatory fish and marine mammals.
Species Interaction

Aquarium & Reef

The Swallowtail Angelfish also known as the Blackspot Angelfish is a popular reef species admired for its vertical red stripes and long swallowtail in the males. Whilst the female are separated by an incredible yellow top and blue bottom along with a long colourful swallowtail.

The fish has a large range across the Southwestern Pacific including Fiji, Indonesia, New Caledonia and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Pomacanthidae

Genus: Genicanthus

Species: Genicanthus melanospilos

Conservation Status

Based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Swallowtail Angelfish is currently categorised as “Least Concern”(LC).

LC is the lowest category on the scale for risk with “Extinct”(EX) being the highest.

Fish Taste Quality

Swallowtail Angelfish are a edible fish but are not a targeted species for consumption.

Taste Rating: 0/5

How to catch
Swallowtail Angelfish

Catch Difficulty: Easy

Bait: Prawns, Shellfish

Popularity: Not targeted

Swallowtail Angelfish
As Aquarium Fish

Care Level: Moderate

Temperament: Peaceful

Diet: Omnivore

Reef Compatible: Yes

Minimum Tank Size: 130 gallons

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Peaceful

Danger: None