Holacanthus tricolor, L

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Rock Beauty. Holacanthus tricolor. Care: Expert. Diet: Omnivorous. Light: Medium. Place of origin: Caribbean

Tropical western and south-eastern Atlantic: from the Bermudas to Georgia, mainland U.S.A., and into Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea and along the Brazilian coast south to its remote island of Trindade. Inhabits seaweed-covered shallow reef platforms to outer reefs to depths of about 90m. Adults feed almost exclusively on the sponges encrusted on the rocks (up to 99%). The rock beauties normally occur in pairs, but also form harem-like small groups defended by the male who claims a territory. Spawns during dusk, and normally in the few days leading up to full moon. Whilst the males may spawn with several females in one session, the females participate only once. The adult Rock Beauty is readily identified by the unmistakable black and yellow colouration. Anterior third of body and caudal fin yellow, rest of body black. Also conspicuous are its blue lips and the blue upper and lower part of the eye. Small juveniles are brilliantly yellow, and have a large blue-ringed ocellus near the caudal fin. This ocellus expands during growth, and gives rise to the typical black colouration. Length to 30cm.