The moment I heard ‘pot cova’, I was intrigued. I could understand why fisherfolk would call it ‘pot cova’; the animal resembles a ‘dutchie’, burnt by coal.
But, I was convinced there was another, ‘official’, scientific name and this was another example of Jamaicans nicknaming things to their liking.
I googled and got nowhere.
The pot cover fish could easily fit in the family of the angel fish and butterfly fish; in particular the almost luminescent French Angelfish.
Here are some fun facts about the French Angelfish aka ‘Pot Cover fish’:
1 The French Angelfish are part of class Osteichthyes. They live in coral reefs in the Western Atlantic, from the Bahamas to Brazil and the Gulf of Mexico.
2 Their scientific name, Pomacanthus paru, comes from the Greek words for cover (poma) and spine (akantha) due to their protruding spines.
3 Other names include: French angelfish, French angel, angelfish, gray angelfish, cachama blanca (Spanish), frade (Portuguese), nezumi-yakko (Japanese).
4 Some studies show that they often appear in the Caribbean Sea and off the coast of New York.
5 French angelfish are very curious, territorial, and often travel in pairs in shallow reefs and swim at depths of 15-feet-deep.
6 Young French angelfish form symbiotic relationships with bigger fish; they remove parasites from other fish species and receive protection in return.
7 They also feed on sponges, algae, soft corals, and ectoparasites, and live among coral reefs in tropical coastal waters
8 They live up to ten years and grow 10-16 inches at a time.
9 They are distinguished by their black scales with yellow rims (adults) and black scales with yellow vertical bands (juveniles).