Sexing Angels

Published on by Igor Dusanic®

There are many methods of sexing angels. While is true that adult angels will pair themselvs, sparing you the embarrasment of guessing wrong, occassionaly you will want to pair up particular traits. If you need to do this, it is handy to be able to choose individuals of the opposite sex.

Some of the most common methods of visually sexing angels are looking at the forehead, the ventral fins, the body shape, the degree of horizontalness of the belly, and the distance between the ventral fins and the anal fine. Males are said to have a humped forehead, at least more humped than the females (typical of many other cichlids, too). This trait is pronounced in individuals carrynig a stripeless gene. The ventral fins are carried straight down in males and are shifted slightly forward in females. The males look quite slim, and looking head-on, have their ventral midline tapered sharply to a knife-edge along the belly. Females, when looking head-on, are fuller. This can be seen more easily after a heavy feeding. The pofile from the mouth to the base of the anal fin is shorther in males and visibly longer in females. Taken individually, these sex characteristics are inconclusive. Taken as a composite, they are reliable.

Of course, the best way to sex them is to examine the mature fish, looking at the vents and genital papillae. Like other cichlids, the female's papilla is long, stout, and flattenden on the end, while the male's papilla is shorter, thinner, and pointed. Both can be seen extending from the anal area, during spawing.

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