The members of the family Pomacanthidae are generally know as angelfishes and, like their nearest cousins, the butterflyfishes, are regarded by many divers and aquarists as being amongst the most beautiful and majestic fishes in the sea. The majority of species occur on shallow reefs in coral, algae and sponge zones, most going little deeper than about 30m but where conditions are pristine and water is very clear, many species go much deeper and few species only live deep (over 100m). Angelfishes feature a large and distinctive backward-protruding spine from the lower corner of the gill-plate (cheek spine) from which the family name was derived. This cheek-spine is diagnostic for all the species , even at juvenile stage, and readily separates any angelfishes from butterflyfishes that may be similar in shape. Mot angelfishes are robust with compressed, ovate to rhomboid shaped bodies, covered with small or tiny scales, and have a continuous dorsal fin. The mouth is small and jaws are set with many small, usually tricuspid teeth that are used for grazing algae or scraping sponges and other sessile invertebrates. Few species combine their diet with a variety of foods and some are planktivores.
Widespread tropical Western and Central Atlantic, ranging from the Caribbean north to Florida and the Bermudas, and south almost along the entire Brazilian coast to the latitude of 30ºS, south of Rio de Janeiro. Expatriates reach the central Atlantic Island Ascension. It lives on shallow coral reefs, algae and rubble areas, but ranges into deep water and reported to 100m. The French Angelfish has a large, discus shaped body with posteriorly pointed dorsal and anal fins that elongate with age. Adults are dark grey, highlighting the yellow scale-margins as a series of vertical dashes. It has a yellow blotch at the base of the pectoral fin. The head is usually a paler grey than the body. Juveniles are black with yellow bands, one forming a loop on the caudal fin, three on the body and one on the nape and mouth to the chin. Length to 40cm.