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FAQs about the Damselfish Identification

Related Articles: Damselfishes, Clownfishes, Jumbo Damselfishes,

Related FAQs: Clownfish Identification, Damsels 1, Damsel Systems, Damsel Selection, Damsel Behavior, Damsel Compatibility, Damsel Feeding, Damsel Disease, Damsel Reproduction,

Neoglyphidodon oxyodon (Bleeker 1858), the most commonly named "Jewel Damsel". Photo by Hiroyuki Tanaka.

Fish Identification    7/13/17
Hello WWM crew,
I’m considering purchasing the largest fish shown in the attached photo from my LFS but have searched for specific id on this fish to no avail. I’ve looked through your site in an effort to identify him but did not see him. He appears to be a damsel of some sort but because there are a ton of them with varying personalities I want to be certain of his behavior before I buy him for my reef system.
<Is for sure a Damsel; Pomacentrid>
In the shop he’s peaceful and appears to get along well with tankmates but we’ve all been down that road. Thanks for your help. I appreciate it. Please pardon the appearance of their tank. They typically do a pretty good job of maintenance even though they unfortunately don’t know much about any of the marine fish or reef animals they carry. I’ve rescued a few from them but overall they do pretty well at keeping their parameters consistent and keeping their fish healthy. Corals, well, that’s another story.
Thanks so much. I appreciate any information you can provide on this beautiful fish.
<I think this fish may be a Dischistodus prosopotaenia (Bleeker 1852), the Honey-Head Damsel. A hardy genus, but can be tough on tankmates; needs room, regular feeding. Bob Fenner>

full size pic

Re: Fish Identification    7/13/17
Hi Bob,
Wow! Lightning speed on your response! Greatly appreciated. Based on the photos I’m seeing of the Honey Head, I don’t see the resemblance? Is there a chance the one in my photo from the LFS is an immature version or?
<I think this is an adult... see WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/dischistodus.htm
Any other ideas? Thanks so much!
<Another Damsel species....! BobF>
Re: Fish Identification    7/13/17

Thanks Bob. I checked out the link and see what you mean! Hope I didn’t offend you with my second inquiry.
<Oh no; not to worry. All my IDs are tentative... am always glad to receive corrections, input>

Surely not my intention. I’ve been pondering this fish and its purchase for a couple weeks now and appreciate your help and will therefore be leaving this fish right where he is! Many thanks again. Peggy
<As many welcomes. B>

Damsels ID      6/20/16
Hi, crew :) . I wanted to see if y'all could help me identify these two species of damselfish... I can't find anything on them on the internet.
<Need better resolved pix; but DO take a look on Fishbase.org for the family (Pomacentridae): the species pictured on the family page/link. Or Gerald Allen's survey works of the family. Bob Fenner>

Banggai Damselfish Amblypomacentrus clarus      1/22/15
Hello hello! Got a damselfish question for you (and for a change it's not 'can you identify this damselfish' type question). I will freely admit, damsels are my favorite SW fish (my fave FW fish are livebearers, guess I just have common tastes!).
<Heeee! But good, diverse ones!>
So when a new batch of "assorted damsels" comes in I always check them out to see if anything interesting has arrived. This past week I found two beauties, a Staghorn damsel (Amblyglyphidodon curacao) and a Banggai Damselfish (Amblypomacentrus clarus).
Apparently the Banggai Damsel was fairly recently discovered and most of what I can find online is scientific in nature. While that's useful in its own way I'm really looking for more general care information, compatibility, adult size, etc. Any useful information you can pass along to me will be greatly appreciated!
Thank you,
<Wish I had some to impart (I don't)... Would imagine its care would be similar for its congeners, but I have little experience (have only seen A. breviceps briefly in captivity and the wild). Appears to be a skittish, singular species; not too mean (more like Pomacentrus or Chrysiptera let's say rather than Stegastes or Dascyllus... is it aquarium-hardy? Again, I don't know. Perhaps you will contribute to its captive husbandry notes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Banggai Damselfish Amblypomacentrus clarus; and damsel ID        1/23/15

Thanks! There seem to be a number of papers in Japanese about this fish, which doesn't do me any good.
<There's highly likely more available via a computerized bibliographic search (there's a bit re this on WWM); but again, I doubt if it pertains to practical husbandry matters>
My identification as A. clarus rather than A. breviceps is based on the lack of yellow coloration and the sharpness of the markings. So it is possible that the colors will change a bit as the fish settles in but I'm pretty sure of the ID.
My fish is very small, clearly a juvenile, so there does not seem to be a juvenile/adult color shift in this species. Actually I was lucky to ID this one so quickly as there is so little online about these.
<Have most all G. Allen's Pomacentrid works, and look more than once/mo on Fishbase.org re the family. The species count is nearing four hundred... and some species in the same and different genera appear quite similar>
Although tiny, he seems to be doing well. Any food that goes into the tank is eaten. He's fairly bold, stays out in the open and doesn't dart away when I am nearby. He's in the same tank as the Staghorn damsel as they came from the same tank in the store and I got them only a few days apart.
So far neither fish has shown any aggression toward the other.
The Staghorn damsel was quite a surprise. He had been at the pet store for a number of weeks as he looked kind of dorky and homely and no one would by him. The juvenile form of A. curacao is not very graceful, to say the least, and at the store he displayed a rather washed out, dull silver coloration.
<I believe I relate my personal endeavours in making the genus Amblyglyphidodon popular in the hobby in a piece archived on WWM. Nice animals, not widely used>
After several weeks at the store he was showing signs of being bullied by some of the more aggressive damsels and since I have a weakness for damsels (and also an unoccupied tank) I took him home. Imagine my surprise when the next day he looked like a different fish! Nighttime coloration has bars like the adult fish, daytime coloration is similar to a green Chromis.
Very pretty! I'm sure of the genus for this guy but may have to wait until he matures to be certain of the species ID as there seems to be a lot of color variation in this group.
<There are and have been a few "new/old" discoveries of "intra" species in recent years>
And, um, can I go ahead and ask you a "can you identify this damselfish" question? There was a third damsel (at the same store no less) that I had never seen before so of course that one came home too. That was quite a damsel shipment they got in, three species I hadn't ever seen in a store!
Anyway, coloration on this fish is very very similar to a Talbot's damsel.
Same violet pink on the lower part, yellow on the upper, but it's not a Talbot's. There are none of the small blue markings, there is no dorsal spot, and the yellow area does not extend down over the face or pelvic fins.
<I'd have you look on Fishbase... starting with the family:
Then click on the blue/link at bottom left (Show species images); and do the long scroll... If you'd like, starting w/ (in alphabetical order) the genus Chrysiptera... Otherwise, PLEASE send along well-resolved pix>
There is a tiny tiny black dot just behind the gill covers. The fish is not as deep-bodied as a Talbot's, and it moves more swiftly. I can't find a picture in FishBase or anywhere else online, or in my "Damselfish of the World" and "Damselfishes & Anemonefishes" books. Behavior is typical damsel, not really aggressive but certainly not shy. Any clues on this one?
<... only a guess, but perhaps C. rex.... >
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
FW: Banggai Damselfish Amblypomacentrus clarus P.S. - forgot to mention, all of the other damsels at this store were
Indo-Pacific so the unidentified on should be from the same location.
<Ah yes; most species hale from this part of the world period, and most all used in the trade in the West are Indo-Pac. BobF>

Chromis ID      4/20/14
Hi Bob (or whoever I get! :D)! First I wanted to say thank you many times over for all of the times you've answered panicky questions about our poor fish (rabbit in a dire way). You and everyone else on WetWebMedia are, quite frankly, our heroes just in terms of helping us retain our sanity over the years.
Today I actually just have a simple question. Our tank is doing well (yay!), our fish are all fat, happy, healthy, and getting along (with one exception and he is now living in the sump until he can be rehomed into our upcoming non-fowlr tank). We acquired two very pretty Chromis (identified as yellow Chromis)
<Not this genus>
and a sergeant major damsel. All three beautiful fish, all three aggressive enough to survive our tank (until the larger Chromis decided the smaller was easy pickings so the littlest guy is in the sump happily getting fat). The problem is, I don't think these guys are actually yellow Chromis. I can't find a picture anywhere online that actually looks like them. The darker color variant of the yellow does look similar but not really close enough, in my opinion.
They are a purplish-brown with a deep yellow-orange anal fin and rear belly area. The caudal fin and dorsal fins are not yellow. They also have a dot of yellow at the base of their pectoral fins. Thing one (the larger) is probably about 3 1/2" and growing. Thing two is about an inch smaller but otherwise identical. I have only seen Chromis that looked like them one other time and that was in the Wild Reef at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
Unfortunately it was one of the only fish they didn't have listed and it was in one of the "big" tanks. I've included a video (he won't hold still for a not-blurry picture, the little booger).
Thanks!! Carole :)
<Try looking (and clicking on) the members of the family on Fishbase.org:
Bob Fenner>
Re: Chromis ID    4/21/14

Thanks Bob. I have searched FishBase (it's one of my go-to sources when I'm trying to identify fish) and I'm not seeing anything that really looks like my guys. The closest is the *Chromis atripes (*
http://www.fishbase.us/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=4982) and as mine
don't have that distinctive dark edging on their fins I'm thinking that's not it either (though the yellow spots at the pectoral fins is kinda "fishy"). I think my next step will be to wander into the Shedd (I work a few miles north of the Shedd and am also a member so it's not a big "out of the way" trip) and see if I can't hunt down someone who can tell me. I love FishBase though I'm very sad I can't find what I'm looking for on there. It also just occurred to me that the video may not work on a regular
computer (it doesn't on my work computer) so I'll see if I can't get Thing One to sit still long enough for a better picture. :)
<Strange; but I didn't find a good match either... The genus Amblyglyphidodon is the closest I'm at currently.
Please do send on any further ID. BobF>
Re: Chromis ID      4/27/14

Hi Bob!!
<Hey Carole>
I'm sorry it took so long to get back with this. Today's the first day I had time to stop in at the Shedd. So, my little guys are in FishBase after all. The reason we had a hard time is because they are a different color morph than what appears in FishBase. They are Neoglyphidodon nigroris (sorry about the lack of italics - I haven't figured out if the iPhone can do them yet). When I look at them in FishBase I can see it. I just overlooked them previously because the colors didn't match. Being a different color morph makes sense. Here's a link to their page on FishBase.
<Really? Am looking at your post on WWM:
Mmm, Okay>
Thanks for your help as always!!
<Thank you for this follow-up. BobF>

Damsel ID     9/27/13
Hi Bob,
          I have attached a picture <<Someone else's work>> of a damsel I have seen a few times in the past and today in my LFS here in the UK. It was labeled as a tricolour damsel, Chrysiptera rollandi .
It doesn't look like the Chrysiptera rollandi in your damsel section within WetWebMedia,
<Here for browsers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/chrysiptera.htm
 and confusingly, photo's on the web show fish like the one I seen today and others which are dissimilar under the same name.
Is this the juvenile form of Chrysiptera rollandi, or a variant?
<Is an adult colored specimen; the species shows quite a variance juvenile to adult, and some regional variation. See here for Fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Photos/ThumbnailsSummary.php?ID=5486 >
 I like the colour of the fish in the picture I've attached but I'm not so keen on the photo on your website. Thanks for the invaluable help you provide, Toby
<Ah, welcome. If you think some of the Pomacentrids are confusing in this coloration matter, take a look at the Labrids!
Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Damsel ID 6/13/2011
Hi guys. I recently purchased this fish from a local store. (pic attached) they said it was a damsel from the great Barrier Reef but didn't know what type. Can you help by telling me what type it is? It's color is the same as a green chromis and is 1 inch long. Seems very Peaceful. Sorry the pic isn't great. He isn't shy just not photogenic. Thanks so much for all the great work you guys do.
Mmm, no pic attached
Re: re:
Sorry here's the pic
This looks to be an Amblyglyphidodon sp., maybe an A. leucogaster juv. Bob Fenner>

Chromis flavicauda in the Indian Ocean?? 6/19/10
Here in India we get a species that looks exactly like the *Chromis flavicauda. *Is there an Indian ocean variety of this fish?
Daniel Naveen K
<Mmm, there are members of this genus found in the I.O., but likely, color-wise you're referring to a Chrysiptera sp., perhaps C. arnazae:
Bob Fenner>

Re: Chromis flavicauda in the Indian Ocean?? 716/10
I got a picture of the fish. Hope this helps for a more accurate ID. My LFS says these are *Pomacentrus caeruleus.*
<Likely so. BobF>
Daniel Naveen

damsel id 5/25/10
Hey everybody! I have a quick question concerning the identification of a damselfish I recently bought searched and searched for anything that somewhat resembled it and came up with a picture off of your website. This
particular fish is amazingly fast so therefore I couldn't get a good snap of it. I was told it was a scissortail damsel but I haven't found anything remotely similar to what this fish looks like. I also looked on fishbase.org but to no success. Any help would be appreciated.
<!? Do take another look here:
on Fishbase... the link at bottom left, "Show Species", will bring up their nominal photo per species... Otherwise, a trip to a large (college) library to peruse the Pomacentrid works by Gerald Allen... Your pic is too blurry for me to place. Bob Fenner>

Pomacentrus alleni ID 1/20/10
<Hello Mike>
I am wondering what you would consider a "defining characteristic" for P. alleni. My LFS 4 fish in that I believe are P. alleni, but he has them labeled as something else. I want the P. alleni because of their more docile nature and don't want to make the mistake of introducing a different damsel into my tank. These fish are neon blue with some yellow around the anal fin.
<Hence the name, Neon Damselfish.>
They DO have the black stripe on the bottom of the caudal fin. Does any other damsel have this feature, or is this a good indicator that they are in fact P. alleni?
<Without a pic, your description sounds like the Neon Damselfish, and I do not understand why you are writing as this information is easily found by Googling.
Take a look at the attached pic for comparison.>
<James (Salty Dog)>
Pomacentrus alleni Query
Hi Bob,
I put this query into the emails with image but it is not my image, just sent to querior for reference. I know you do not use other peoples work on your site for good reason so I just want to give you a heads up on this.
<Real good. Thank you, B><<Mine's here: http://wetwebmedia.com/pomacentrus.htm>>

Re: Mystery white stuff? Now Damsel ID 10/9/2009
Thank you again Mike. Will put all your suggestions into practice.
<Hi Liz. Good to hear.>
One last question for you. Any idea what kind of damsel this is (see attached picture)? It came with my tank, previous owner had no idea what it was.
<Damsels can be very tricky to identify. The cute little colorful fish you buy in the store usually morphs into something that looks much different when it grows up.>
It's color changes from a dark blue/purple to a washed out various of the same as it swims around the tank. Very personable, busy fish. Has staked out it's corner of the tank and is otherwise very tolerant of the two pesky Sgt. Majors and isn't concerned at all with the Cardinals.
<Really need some more information to even attempt an identification better than a guess. Information like size and how long one has had the fish is helpful. Many damsels change their colors as they mature. If one were to force me to make an ID, my best guess would be a member of the Neoglyphidodon genus that is in the process of color changing.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/neoglyphidodon.htm >
It does do something odd with the eel. I've noticed several times when the eel sticks it's head up out of the rock at the back of the tank the Damsel will swim over, invert its self so it's head is pointed straight up towards the top of the tank and then stay there by the eel. Sometimes still, sometimes 'wagging' it's hind end. I assume this is some sort of posturing, but it doesn't seem real aggressive. The eel isn't bothered by it at all!
<Posturing because the eel is too close to the damsels territory is most likely.>
I sure wish I knew someone like you locally. I have *so* many questions.
<Do have a look on this page - http://www.wetwebmedia.com/damsels.htm Has links to the different types of damsels
Take care,
<Will do>

Re: Mystery white stuff? Now Damsel ID 10/12/2009
<Howdy Liz.>
I had no idea damsels could color morph so amazingly.
<Yep. Unfortunately, they usually become very drab as adults.>
Sadly, I don't have much background info on the fish. It came with the tank when I bought it and the precious owner didn't know what it was either.
Which kinda stymies me. I've been obsessively cataloging and identifying everything large and small living in my tank.
Here is what I do know about the fish:
- about a year to a year and a half old
- 3 1/2" long excluding tail fin <Close to being an adult then.>
- in the tank the color of the fish changes pretty dramatically as it swims.
Sometimes it looks very vivid (like in the picture), sometimes it looks like a washed out version of the same colors. Just depends on how the light hits it.
<Or the fish's mood.>
Not much to go on. I suppose specific ID isn't critically important, but I do like knowing what I have when possible!
<Do keep digging around - http://www.fishbase.org is an excellent reference as well.>

Unknown damsel
<Mmm, your image files... are too dang big Scotter!>
Inherited this from a guy getting out of the business. Can you tell me what type of fish it is? Assumed it was a damsel... possibly cyanea? Just not sure. It's a deep blue in color and about 3.5 to 4 inches long and they said they had it about 5 years. Any information would be great!!!
<Looks to be some Stegastes sp. See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/stegastes.htm
and fishbase.org... Allen's works...

Fish ID 06/08/09
I was given my first saltwater aquarium a few weeks ago, with fish by a friend. She went bigger and gave me the fish that came with her tank bigger tank. I have identified all the fish in the tank except for this one. I was finally able to get a couple of good clear photos of it and have attached them to this email. It is approximately 2-2 1/2 inches long and is always these muted colors.
Thank you, Julie
<Hi Julie. Chrysiptera rex, the spot behind the eye in combination with the coloration (which can be more vivid on other specimens) is typical. Cheers, Marco.>

Re: Fish ID
Thank you so much. We knew it was part of the damselfish family but couldn't figure it out. You guys are awesome. Julie
<Thanks for your kind words. Marco.>

Damsel ID 4/6/09
Maybe y'all can help me. I've acquired a little damsel fish that I'm having a heck of a time identifying. I am sorry that I don't have a photo but I'll try to give as much information as I can. The fish is about 1"
from head to tail with the tail not split into two. It has a background color of silver/pale white with the bottom fins colored yellow. There is a blue part of the body extending from the nose along the top to the dorsal fin. I've looked all over fishbase.org and queried the internet without any luck.
<There are too many fish in that family for me to even guess what you have without a pic. Do provide a pic and I'm sure we can ID this fish for you.>
Thank You!
<You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)>
Charlie Purkins

Fish ID: Not likely to be a Goatfish. WWM Crew, any other input? 3/20/2009
Dear Sir,
<GrüÃe Karl-Heinz>
I collect since 40 years fish on stamps. Now I have a problem.
What´s the scientific name of this Goatfish? You can help me?
<I examined the original stamp here: http://www.unicover.com/H0005081.htm I believe the artist made some sort of mistake, or this is a typographic error on the page.>
<Ich untersuchte die original Marke hier: http://www.unicover.com/H0005081.htm. Ich glaube, dass der Artist Fehler machte, oder das ist ein typographischer Fehler auf der Seite.>
<It is difficult to determine from the picture what kind of fish it is, but it is not a Goatfish. The fish in the picture has one long dorsal fin and no chin barbels, rather than two separate dorsal fins and two barbels on the chin which is a characteristic of Goatfish.>
<Es ist schwierig, vom Bild zu bestimmen, welcher Fisch es ist, aber es ist nicht ein Meerbarbe. Der Fisch im Bild hat eine lange Rückenflosse, und keine Kinn-Barben, aber nicht zwei trennen Rückenflossen und zwei Barben auf dem Kinn, das eine Eigenschaft von Meerbarbe ist.>
Thank you very much for your trouble.
Regards from Germany
<Mit Freundlichen GrüÃen von Florida>

Fish on stamps, RMF 3/20/09
Dear Sir,
I collect since 40 years fish on stamps. Now I have a problem.
What´s the scientific name of this goatfish? You can help me?
<Mmm, looks to be a Damsel of some sort (Pomacentrid)... Perhaps a stylized Chromis species.>
Thank you very much for your trouble.
Regards from Germany
Karl-Heinz Dau
<Velkommen. Bob Fenner>

Fish on stamps 3/20/09
thank very much for your answer. The post office from Marshall Is. say it is a goatfish. Okay
<Javul! I have seen some real doozies... Even invertebrates with fish names! BobF>

Fish On Stamps 3/21/09
Hi Bob,
Isn't Velkommen Danish for welcome and willkommen German for welcome.
Just curious as the gent is from Germany. I spent three years in Germany and never heard the term Velkommen. Keep in mind I'm not being a smart ass, just curious.
<Ja! Is a stmt. re my impoverished language skills... A friend of mine oft responds when spoken to in Mexican in whacky imperatives... Understanzee?
auf wiedersehen,
<So long, fare... and you and you and you. B>

Damsel? 08/08/2008 Hello, Could you please identify this damsel for me? <<Had to speak to Mr Fenner on this one, certainly not one I have come across before. As per his thoughts, Neoglyphidodon bonang, and this one being a juvi of this species. Please do search on fishbase.org for the above.>> Thanks! RJ Duco <<Hope this helps, thanks for the question. A Nixon>>

Damselfish ID Help 06/05/2008 Hello Lords of Everything Fishy, <<And Ladies....Andrew with you today>> I was hoping that you could help in the identification of a newly acquired damselfish. My fish guy is trying to get out of the business and gave me three turbo snails, what I think is an Amblygobius phalaena, and the damsel in question for only five bucks. I could turn him down. He told me that it was a blue-green chromis; although it looks nothing like any that I have seen. Most of the time it appears black or really dark blue with a striking yellow stripe down each side of its back. It also has a small yellow dot just after the strip on each side. It is about 1-1/4 inches long. I have attached a picture. <<Ahh yes, indeed a Chromis, common name Orange line Chromis>> Thanks, CM
<<Thanks for the question, hope this helps. A Nixon>>

Actually Acanthochromis polyacanthus, a really neat neo-tropical cichlid-like breeding Pomacentrid. RMF.

Juvenile Damsel in Transition- or Adult In Full Bloom? Damsel ID) 05/11/08 Hi crew. <Hey there! Scott F. in tonight!> Hope you are all well. I was wondering if you could ID this Damsel for me, please. Sorry the picture is great. Thanks Ben <Well, Ben- it's not as easy as you might think! I'm pretty confident that it's in the genus Pomacentrus, but I can't nail down the exact species. It has an ocelli (eye spot) at the bas of the dorsal fin, which is found on many Pomacentrus species as juveniles, and several others as adults. If it's an adult, I'm leaning towards the rather obscure P. adelus, but it might very well be an juvenile of any number of species in the genus. Might be easier to identify later if this fish is, indeed a juvenile Hope this helps point you in the right direction! Regards, Scott F.>
Damsel ID 1/22/08 Hi there, <Hi Rob> Great site, I use it as a reference, often. <Thank you.> I have a question about a damselfish I saw yesterday at my LFS. I couldn't seem to find it on fishbase.org. There were some that were close but not really. The fish is about 3/4 inch in length, is reddish-orange color over all and has a single blue ring on it's back. It has a body is shaped similarly to the Pomacentrus. There are no stripes or additional spots anywhere else on this fish. The store has it listed as a red damselfish. I don't think they knew what they were when they came in so they listed them based on their coloration. I assume that they are a juvenile form and I am curious on what it's mature coloration will be. I wish I could be more detailed but it isn't a very elaborately colored fish, just different from the usual damsels I see here. I don't believe it's a juv. garibaldi, color is wrong. I have been in this hobby for almost 20 years and I have not seen anything like this fish and I would like to get one. Any ideas would be helpful. <Without a pic...I'll take a stab. Could be a juvenile Pomacentrus bankanensis or vaiuli.> Thanks, <You're welcome. James (Salty Dog)> Rob Mancabelli
Damsel? ID…? 9/26/07 Hi All, <Hi Reuben, Mich here.> It's been awhile- my FOWLR is great <Good to hear!> (though my miniatus and trigger did have to be separated for now; the grouper outgrew the others quickly and tried to have a Huma snack). <Yikes!> I started a reef system a couple years later and cycled it with a few a damsels who still reside there. <For future reference is best to do fishless cycling.> My question is related to one of these fish- I purchased it because it was mixed in with the damsels at my LFS and I had never seen one before (or again). I have been unable to identify or even find another photo of this fish on your site or on the Internet in general, but then I'm not sure if I'm even looking at a damsel. <Looks like a member of the Pomacentridae family to me.> It doesn't really seem 'damsel-like' to me in terms of behaviour- it doesn't really have a specific territory, it just swims around in the open all the time, like my Chromis. It's not aggressive at all. <May or may not be characteristic of the species.> It also has a sort of elongated body compared to other damsels I have seen and it is very small, only about an inch though I have had it for three or for years. I finally got a digital camera and was hoping you could put my curiosity to rest. I assume it is a damsel, but I can't stand not knowing for sure. I like to know the Latin name for everything under my care (my yard is labeled, my herps are labeled, my birds- I may tattoo my wife next, <Look out!> despite my being under HER care). <Ahhh, an honest man.> Can you tell me what I have? <Is difficult to determine from just one pic. I can't tell from the photo if the background color of this fish is blue or black. Perhaps this is a member of the genus Pomacentrus, there are some 241 species in this genus alone and over 321 species in this family. I would recommend spending some time on www.fishbase.org http://www.fishbase.org/NomenClature/ScientificNameSearchList.php?crit1_fieldname= SYNONYMS.SynGenus&crit1_fieldtype= CHAR&crit1_operator=EQUAL&crit1_value=pomacentrus&crit2_fieldname =SYNONYMS.SynSpecies&crit2_fieldtype =CHAR&crit2_operator=contains&crit2_value=&group=summary&backstep=-2 > Thanks for making your vast knowledge available! <Wish I could be more help here.> Reuben <Mich> p.s. Sorry if the pic is large, I'm not sure how to resize them yet. <Is fine. We recently upgraded our web mail system and can handle bigger pic without it crashing our server like it used to.>

<Perhaps a juv. Chrysiptera. RMF>

Damselfish ID? (N. nemurus or N. azysron) 3/4/07 Hi Bob (et. all), <GrahamT with you tonight, greetings to you.> Since I got such a quick response to my last question, I thought I would pose this one again. I tried once before, but I didn't get a response. Maybe I sent the picture wrong? <Who can say? We are not without our quirks; both personal and with our email server... ;) > Any help would be appreciated. <Will try...> Jim Subject: Damselfish ID? Hi Crew! Hope you're not getting as much snow wherever you are as we are here in Ohio! I don't want to be guilty of requesting help on an easily identifiable fish, but I have looked everywhere I can think of, and I am still not sure about this one. I picked it up at a nearby fish store as an "assorted damsel" (got two, in fact, but only one made it). This is the best picture I could get... he's a fast little bugger! <Know the feeling...> I figured it was some kind of Chromis I had never seen before, but I don't think so. Maybe a juvenile Neopomacentrus violascens? <Doesn't convince me...> I don't know how different they look when young. Or perhaps a member of Pomacentrus? <That's possible, but...> Looks a lot like Pomacentrus nigromanus, but a lot bluer, and the yellow doesn't go as far forward dorsally. <I agree - no match. How about Neopomacentrus azysron ( http://darwin.zoology.gla.ac.uk/~rpage/ispecies/?q=Neopomacentrus+azysron )? I think this one to be more likely, since they are usually characterized by their solid yellow caudal fin. Or Neopomacentrus nemurus ( http://darwin.zoology.gla.ac.uk/~rpage/ispecies/?q=Neopomacentrus+nemurus&submit=Go )? I think these are the closest matches for you, but it *is* hard to tell by the picture. > I guess it's really no big deal, but my curiosity is killing me! <We understand. Oh yes, we understand.> Thanks again, Jim <Welcome, Jim. -GrahamT P.S. Thank you for the reasonably-sized attachment. We all appreciate it!>

Damsels Will Be Damsels...! 9/30/06 Hi! <Hi there! Scott F. here today!> I just set up a new 29 gallon BioCube tank (my first tank) and when the tank was ready for fish, I bought a Hi Fin Goby and a wild-caught Percula Clownfish. After two days the clownfish jumped into the filter system along the back of the tank and died (the goby jumped the back of the tank too, but he came through OK). <Yikes...sorry to hear about the Clown.> I put up a plastic barrier to prevent this from happening again and ordered a tank raised clownfish from the LFS. <Good moves.> In the mean time, I bought a Yellow/Golden Damsel to help "feed" the live sand and rock. He's very fun to watch (my cats love him) and both the Goby and Damsel are eating well. They've been together for a few days and at first it didn't look like the Damsel was chasing the Goby or exhibiting aggressive behavior, but yesterday I noticed that the Goby's "hi fin" had been chewed down. Will the Goby's fin grow back on its own or is there something else I need to do to make sure he's OK (i.e., add vitamins or antibiotics). <In all likelihood, the damaged fin will grow back. However, you do want to keep very stable, clean water conditions to prevent the possibility of infection. Also, I'll be that the Damsel had something to do with this fin damage...And it may be repeated as long as the Damsel is in the system!> What should I do about the damsel? I would ultimately like to get a Royal Gramma and/or Spotted Mandarin to go with the Clown and Goby, along with some coral and inverts. Will the damsel be too much of a problem in this mix? <Quite probably. Damsels of many species have a well-deserved reputation for aggressiveness. I'm not sure which species you have (a number of different species go by the common moniker, "Yellow Damsel", so pics or a scientific name would help, but it's almost always a safe bet to assume the worst (in regards to aggressiveness) when keeping these fish!> Any help would be greatly appreciated! - Linda <Well, Linda- I'd consider either not adding the more peaceful fish that you are considering, or perhaps setting up a new tank for the Damsel to rule! Good luck! Regards, Scott F.>

Damsel ID - 02/27/06 Could you please identify this ugly fish for me that I have had for about 4 years, and is the bully of the tank? Unfortunately, I have 3 of them! They are such bullies! Bullied my Tank and now Clarkii Clown to the point of death. <Pretty sure this is Amblyglyphidodon aureus: http://wetwebmedia.com/amblyglyphidodon.htm and see the pix on fishbase.org as there is considerable variation. Bob Fenner> Thank you!!

Black Cap Damselfish info... ID 2/14/06 I just recently purchased a Black Cap Damselfish from my LFS and cannot locate any info on the web regarding this particular Damselfish. Any suggestions? <Mmm, this descriptor doesn't come to mind, nor come up in a Google search, on/off WWM, nor fishbase.org... You can read through these resources by family (Pomacentridae... there are some 375 or so species though)... there are a few damsels that bear a "black cap". Bob Fenner> Damsel ID 7/20/05 WWM and Crew: First and foremost, thanks for this site! No aquarist should be without it, especially us pseudo-beginners! <Are there such folks?> If you have time, I need some help with a damsel ID. I went to the LFS yesterday with the intent of buying some blue-green Chromis, and of course they had none. In the tank labeled "Green Chromis" (which he certainly is NOT), there was this cute lil bugger that I couldn't identify. He is the exact same size and shape as the yellow-tailed blues next to him, and I assume he was mistakenly shipped with them. I know I shouldn't buy fish (especially damsels) that I'm not familiar with, but he was just too interesting. On to the description: He is tannish/pinkish, to almost purple...sometimes (he seems to change a lot). He has a clear caudal fin, and blue-tipped pelvic fins. On his dorsal fin is a black spot, surrounded by iridescent blue. I've looked all over the internet, and the closest I can come are these: one-spot damsel, obscure damsel, Indonesian damsel. Any idea? <From your description, could be one of these> I'd like to be able to research him, but can't find much info. I'm desperately hoping he doesn't become a holy terror! TIA, Jodie Bivens <Please send along a pic or two if you can. Bob Fenner>

Damsel ID 7/20/05 Bob... when you get a chance, could you peek at this fish for me? <Hey big boy!> Trying to get an ID on it and got lost on fishbase, etc does Acanthochromis ring a bell? <Nah, the neotropical cichlid wannabe? Tis an Amblyglyphidodon leucogaster See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblyglyphidodon.htm> I saw it was monotypic but this fish looked similar?
<... BobF>

Re: damsel ID 7/20/05 wow... how cool! As I was searching among pics and words on fishbase... I kept coming up (and ignoring <G>) hits on cichlids! way cool. Thanks so much, bro. :) <Welcome. B>

Hawaiian Damselfish My local aquarium store has a damsel that I have never seen before. It is listed as a Hawaiian White Damsel and sells for $19.99. I am trying to find out some information on its care, behavior and adult size. I looked at the white damsel listed on your site and I am not sure if it is the same. Can you give me some insight? Caryn < Take a look at a Hawaiian damselfish by the scientific name Dascyllus albisella on fishbase.org. It feeds on small invertebrates and gets about 5 inches long.-Chuck.>

20 ga. Filtration & Stock Hello, <Hi there> I kept a 20ga saltwater tank several years ago, but took it down when I moved out of state. At that time, filtration consisted of an undergravel powered by the intake of a Skilter 250 that hung on the back (the Skilter's intake tube was inserted into the undergravel lift tube). <We've come a long way baby> I started this tank up again a few weeks ago in my new home and would appreciate some feedback. <I'd look around re gear upgrades... get a bigger tank...> I've added a Marineland Eclipse2 hood this time (cartridge/bio-wheel setup), and am also running the undergravel with a strong powerhead for additional filtration and aeration. I have not employed the Skilter this time because the tank's new position is such that it can be viewed from all four sides, hence I am trying to avoid "hang on" parts. <Mmm, might add a sump/refugium, remote a/the skimmer there...> The tank is fish-only and contains no live rock. The only inhabitants at this time are a tiny yellow-tail damsel and a flame angel. <Too small a volume for the latter> I anticipate eventually adding one, maybe two more small fish at most. Possible future inhabitants might be a six-line wrasse, either a bicolor or a purple Pseudochromis, or perhaps some type of clown (although I am reluctant to subject most of the little guys to life without an anemone). <Mmm... too much to say that has already been written, recorded on our root web here... I would read before making these additions... assertions> I would very much appreciate your feedback regarding both my filter system and the potential additions to my community tank. <UG filtration can work, as can small (less than forty gallons, my arbitrary number) systems... but Flame Angels, more than one damsel... not a good bet. Do read over on WWM re the possibility of adding external gallonage at least, keep in mind maybe making the 20 itself into this to service a larger tank. Welcome back to the hobby. Bob Fenner> By the way, can you tell me the true name for the yellow-tail damsel? I've seen various sources call it Chromis xanthurus, Chrysiptera parasema, and Chrysiptera hemicyanea. Which is correct? <Please see here: http://wetwebmedia.com/chrysiptera.htm. Chrysiptera cyanea is by a large margin the most common "Blue Damsel", though other Blue (Chromis viridis principally) are sold as such. C. parasema is the most common "Yellow Tail Blue Damsel", though there are other species sold as such regionally, seasonally... C. hemicyanea is rarely offered in the trade.>

The Vagaries of Damselfish Taxonomy (4/4/05) Hello crew! <Hi. Steve Allen with you tonight.> I am a little confused with blue damsel classification. <You're not the only one.> As far as I know (correct me if I am wrong) Chrysiptera cyanea is a blue damselfish with black stripes on the 'face' and a nice black dot at the base of the spinal fin. This dot is quite far from the edges of the fin (~1-2 mm). Adult males develop orange tail and go under the name of "orange-tail damsel" while still having the dot. As far as I understand juveniles all have this dot? <There seems to be some disagreement as to what this species is on different sites. I would call this definitive: Chrysiptera cyanea > If there is a dot at the base of the spinal fin, but at the edge of the fin, is this a different species? How you can distinguish the Pomacentrus coelestis (or Dascyllus coelestis?)? Chrysiptera springeri ? Abudefduf assimilis (or Abudefduf cyaneus?)? Is the coloration dependent on collection place? <Color morphs do occur within single species based on location and other factors. Also, classifications can be changed over time. I'd suggest you go to www.fishbase.org and search on the species you listed. There are also ways to search there based on characteristics.> <<Editor's note: Often special differentiation is determined via ray count of unpaired fins, etc.>> Can fish collected from different ecosystems be interbred? (assuming the same scientific name) <Presumably, since they must be able to breed in order to be in the same species. Some close species interbreed, which leads to hybrids that may or may not be able to reproduce -- just like the mule, which is a cross between a horse and a donkey that cannot reproduce.> Thanks a lot for your help. Sincerely, Rony. <I hope this helps.>

Damsel ID Hi Bob, <James for Bob today> I bought a damselfish a couple of days back and I'm hesitating to include it into my system. Reason was because I could neither ID in your website nor any other. Would you be kind enough to help me. Please find attached picture for your reference. <Email w/photo not found> <Not a real good pic to ID, but from what I see, it looks like a member of the Dischistodus genus. Here is a link with photos on the damsel family. You may be able to make a better ID since the fish is in front of you. Well my copy/paste isn't working again, but type in the keyword Damselfish and take a look there. James (Salty Dog)>

Chromis and damsels Hi again, << Hi there. >> Sorry to be a pest, but I have been reading you site for about 6 hours now and have stumbled upon your damselfish and Chromis. Might be a stupid question but are they the same species? << Chromis are a type of damselfish. >> I have been told that mixing damsels with my Chromis was a bad idea, but I have been fascinated with the 4 stripe damsel. << I have no idea why anyone told you not to mix them. I think they do great together. Both are very easy to keep, and make great beginner fish. >> Can they go with the fish I currently have in my tank or are they too aggressive? Thanks for your help on the first question. << Many damsels, like the 4 stripe, are quite aggressive. Therefore many hobbyists stay away from them. However, they are easy to keep and great beginner fish. >> Cierah << Blundell >> New Damsel species? Hi gang: <Chuck> My LFS recently stocked some fish labeled "Blue reef Chromis". They were a beautiful electric blue. . . with fully developed, almost exaggerated lyre tails. . . and a bit of black up around the dorsals. Probably 4-1/2 inches from stem-to-stern. <That's a larger species!> I've never seen these at any of the stores/importers in the LA area. . . and don't remember them from any books. They seemed to school. . . maybe not so much as the common 'green' Chromis. . . and it was hard to be sure in the heavily stocked display tank they were housed in. I assume these are some sort of damsels. Any comments on these critters' behavior and/or special needs? Is that wonderful blue color likely to survive in captivity? Even if they're reef compatible and not too aggressive, I'll have to wait till I see them available again: The half dozen I saw were sold out in no time. Chuck <Time to send you through a search of our Damsel coverage: http://wetwebmedia.com/damsels.htm Take a look through the pix there... and on to Gerald Allen's works if you don't see it. Bob Fenner>

Help with ID please? <Hi Ed, Mac here> http://www.reefaquariumguide.com/photos/data/500/10283purpledamsel-med.JPG Here's a link to a new addition to my tank that I haven't been able to Identify. Any ideas? <I believe you have a Chrysiptera springeri there Ed. I've gone through the entire list at fishbase.org and through the burgess book and that's really the best fit. Very nicely colored and very nice picture.> Thanks,
Ed Byron

ID a fish, please 2/6/04 Here's another picture I just took Paul. You know, I think you are right about them being Damsels, only because I remember them being so cheap! <From the look of the picture it looks like it is Amblyglyphidodon ("Am-blee-gliph-id-oh-don") damsel! See the similarities here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/amblyglyphidodon.htm> But now, I just want to get rid of them. They're not very attractive. <Not so bad, me thinks> I'm going to the net now to look up the Leucetta sponge. Thanks for chatting with me! <Thanks for being part of it all ~Paul> Pam

Neopomacentrus azysron? (damsel id) Hello folks-<Hi Steve, MacL here> I hope you have patience for one more Damsel ID query-<Always and this was an interesting one for me.> Does this resemble Neopomacentrus azysron? <It does very closely resemble it. However, and azysron is characterized by a solid yellow tail. Sadly i had to rule that out since yours has the blue or black lines on the tail.> Happy to say it's been very happy in my tank for more than two years- frustrated that I can't quite nail the id after many web searches. <I must say I have gone around and around with it myself. Some of the other crew feels it is a Neopomacentrus cyanomos (The "Regal Demoiselle"). I see similarities with the Crescent or regal damsel but if it is its not from the indo-pacific but instead from another area and might possibly be a color morph. Indonesian fish metallic green to black with a distinctive white spot at end on dorsal fin base. That's not your fish at all. However there are a couple of pictures that are similar to it when you click on the fishbase picture.> It displays what appears to be non-hostile (flirtatious?) fin-splaying behavior around my GSM female; even huddles with my GSM pair when frightened. About 3", not counting the long streamers on the end of its tail- just a bit of yellow on the inner part of the tail and bottom fin- not as much as appears on fishbase specimen photos- any ideas? thanks very much! <Personally I think it might be a cross of some kind. But that's just my opinion. Take a look at the regal or crescent damsel in www.fishbase.org and see what you think. MacL>

A What Kind of Damsel? >I purchased four of these and was told that they were deepwater Indo-Pacific and they will get big. They look like Anthias fish. Is there a good site to find out more on them? thanks, BB >>Not that I can find (doing the usual Google and fishbase.org searches). You'll do well to search http://www.fishbase.org on your own to find something that matches, as this is a completely unknown (or un-findable) common name. Otherwise, treat as damsels. Marina

Re: Fiji damsel >Hi Marina (and crew of course) >>Good morning, Connie! >I read your response today to someone telling them about one of your fishes, a Fiji damsel. I have checked all the suppliers on line that I know about and haven't found any info. Could you tell me where you acquired this pretty fish??? >>Oh my, that would have been Bob's department, as I'd never seen the fish until I worked with him some ten years ago or so. They came in a shipment he'd ordered, but I'm going to do a quick search and see what I can find. Ok, so far I'm finding that the pink and yellow damsel I have been calling "Fiji" is something else entirely from what most others are calling "Fiji"! O! Lament the common names! But I'm not finished yet. >Thanks so much for your help, Marina. Connie >>You're welcome, now let's see what I can find for you! Here's something close, but it's not the same fish http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Neoglyphidodon&speciesname=nigroris >>Here's a pretty one, but not the one I was talking about...BOB! LOL http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Chrysiptera&speciesname=bleekeri >>This one demonstrates the posterior dorsal fin spot, but on the animal I'm thinking of it wasn't ringed, still, beautiful http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Pomacentrus&speciesname=vaiuli >> http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Chrysiptera&speciesname=rex >>Well, that's it for my search. We'd have to ask Bob if he remembers this little fish at all, because I've now spent the better part of 45 minutes with no luck finding the exact fish I remember, nothing even *quite* close. I am very sorry, too! Marina

A Question (What else?) (Damsel identification) Hello, I was wondering if you could properly identify the black and yellow striped Damsel pictured on this page http://www.fishsupply.com/cgi-bin/common/art_viewer.cgi?item_no=FDH00 I have never seen this damsel before and when I research the scientific name supplied with the picture (Pomacentrus coelestis ), it is always listed as the common blue and gold Damsel. Thanks, Rich <This is a Neoglyphidodon. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/neoglyphidodon.htm and check the juvenile coloration phase by the name on fishbase.org Bob Fenner>

TWA Damsel i.d. I'm not sure if your organization offers assistance like this, but thought I'd try anyway. I am trying to identify the fish shown in the attached picture. I took the photo in May 2000 while diving off the coast of Antigua . I've gone through various fish identification references, but haven't found a match yet. I thought it might be some sort of damselfish. Any help you could provide would be appreciated. <It is a Damsel, likely Stegastes planifrons. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/stegastes.htm Bob Fenner>
Thanks, Jared

Damsel ID/Info I hate to even ask this without a pic, but my LFS got in some damsels that I had never seen before. <A good photo is a tremendous help...but...I'll hazard a guess anyway> They look exactly like the pic on your site of Pomacentrus chrysurus, but their bodies show no blue (they are approximately the color of the brown stripes on a Dischistodus prosopotaenia). <Many of the damselfishes in the Pomacentrus genus are blue...but not the critter that you specified> Could these be stressed/juvenile Pomacentrus chrysurus? <Not IMO...I am going out on a limb and venturing a semi-educated guess at what you have seen: I think it is the adult Pomacentrus chrysurus or...how about an alternative?...a Plectroglyphidodon lacrymatus damselfish. That's "fancy fish talk" for a Jewel Damselfish. The Jewel is an olive green/brown fish with a few colorful spots along the head and the dorsal fin area, thus the "Jewel" in the common name> The guy at the LFS I spoke to said that they didn't like getting them in because they had such a high mortality rate; is there any cause for this? <Really? Interesting <G> I think I would try a different supplier for these fish. Normally, damselfishes are one of the toughest fish that you can buy. They are very disease resistant, particularly Pomacentrus. I hasten to add that wild-caught clownfish (Amphiprion and Premnas) are often imported with parasites/disease but are hardy once established in a stable system.> I've been through the Pomacentrus article and FAQ and I couldn't find any specific info about behavior/feeding/etc. of Pomacentrus chrysurus. <Well for starters...Remember that nearly all damselfishes are quite territorial and have the potential to harass their own kind as well as other more peaceful fish. If you have a large tank you can house an odd numbered school of damsels (Pomacentrus) but if your tank is small (under 55 gallons), just one. Feeding is easy...they are carnivorous and herbivorous. They will eat and stay healthy by consuming meaty items of marine origin as well as picking at whatever algae is growing in your tank> If you could share any info you might be privy to, I would be grateful :). Thanks, Laura <You are very welcome. I hope I've helped...David Dowless>

Jewel damsel I recently purchased a Jewel Damsel. Upon doing more research on the animal, however, I have discovered that there are actually two different types of Jewel Damsels, with species names Plectroglyphidodon lacrymatus and Microspathodon chrysurus (Atlantic Jewel Damsel). After reading your article I understand that the latter gets quite large. I do not want this for my tank. I've looked at pics for both, and I cannot seem to tell them apart (at least when they are juveniles). Can you give me any help here. Many Thanks, A <Mmm, they're both pictured and described on WetWebMedia.com and fishbase.org... As juveniles M. chrysurus is much more brightly colored and it is by far more common in the hobby than the Pacific damsel. Bob Fenner>

Re: jewel damsel Thanks Bob. I've come to the conclusion that it is Microspathodon chrysurus. I have netted it and hope to bring it back to the fish store. It was quite the terror. <Yikes... this species can be VERY territorial.> Netting it was a whole adventure in and of itself.....suffice it to say that it took a krill soaked in garlic supplement and a very large net. _A <Yum, now I'm getting a tasty chemical memory. Hope that's not a large net I see in the kitchen! Bob Fenner>

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