Holacanthus tricolor is one of the 7 members belonging to the genus Holacanthus, which together with 7 additional genera make up the family of angelfishes (Pomacanthidae) in which there are currently a total of 89 described species. We will find this species in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, from the coasts of Georgia in the United States, to the south of Brazil, including between both extremes the entire Caribbean Sea, as well as Bahamas and Bermuda. They are most common in waters less than 35 meters deep, although the maximum barometric range of the species is at 92 meters. They prefer rocky areas or areas with abundant corals.
With a short, oval and laterally compressed body, Holacanthus tricolor has a small terminal mouth located on a short, slightly pointed snout. Its preoperculum are serrated and the operculum has a large spine. The dorsal fin has 14 spines and 17-19 soft rays, the anal fin has 3 spines and 18-20 soft rays. Both the soft ray portion of the dorsal and anal fins end in a vertical right angle with the caudal peduncle, although the upper posterior end of the dorsal fin has a small filament extending slightly behind the dorsal fin. The pectoral fins have 17-18 rays, and the caudal fin has a slightly curved edge with the presence at the upper end of another small filament.
The body of Holacanthus tricolor is black in the posterior part of the body, being this area delimited by the vertical from by the fourth spine of the dorsal fin, to the base of the pectoral fins, and from there diagonally to the third spine of the anal fin. The dorsal and anal fin regions posterior to this demarcation are black with bright yellow-orange edges. This black rear area of the body of Holacanthus tricolor contrasts with the front area, which is bright yellow-orange. The caudal fin is completely yellow. Finally, the third color referred to by its name is blue. This is present in the form of two thin semicircular stripes surrounding the iris of the eye, one located at the top and the other at the bottom. Occasionally, some specimens may also have a blue mouth area. Juveniles have almost all of their body color yellow-orange. Only a black ocellar spot located on the upper rear flank breaks this color, which as the specimen grows becomes larger and larger until it acquires the pattern of the adults.
As for reproduction, they reach sexual maturity at 16 and 19 cm in length for females and males respectively. Males form a small harem of up to 4 females. The clutches are very numerous and the females release their eggs into the water column, where the male also releases the sperm to fertilize them. Approximately one day after fertilization, and after being spread by the marine currents, the larvae hatch from the eggs.Photos: