A total of 23 novel polymorphic microsatellite marker loci were developed for the angelfish Centropyge bicolor through 454 sequencing, and further tested on two spatially separated populations (90 individuals each) from Kimbe Bay in Papua New Guinea. The mean ± s.e. number of alleles per locus was 14·65 ± 1·05, and mean ± s.e. observed (HO) and expected (HE) heterozygosity frequencies were 0·676 ± 0·021 and 0·749 ± 0·018, respectively. The markers reported here constitute the first specific set for this genus and will be useful for future conservation genetic studies in the Indo-Pacific region. © 2015 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.