Damselfish Family Photos and Information – Pomacentridae

The Damselfish Family – Pomacentridae

Mexican Night Sergeant, Abudefduf declivifrons, a representative member of the Damselfish or Pomacentridae Family.

The fish of the Damselfish or Pomacentridae Family are a fairly large group of small (up to 14 inches in length) and very colorful reef fish found throughout the subtropical and tropical regions of the world’s oceans. They are known in Mexican fishing waters as castañetas and jaquetas. The Family includes the Chromises, Damselfish, Garibaldis, Gregories, Night Sergeants, and Sergeant Majors with three hundred eighty-four global species placed in twenty-nine genera.

The Damselfish have elongated to oval compressed bodies with small protrusible mouths that open in the front, conical teeth, and small gill rakers. They vary in color from drab hues of black, brown, and gray to brilliant combinations of orange, yellow, and neon blue. Many have juvenile stages with bodies that are yellow ventrally with bright blue striping across their head and back. They have anal fins with two spines and 10 to 14 rays, a caudal fin that varies from concave to forked, and a single continuous dorsal fin with 12 to 14 spines and 10 to 17 rays. Their spinous base in longer than their ray base. Their bodies are covered with large rough scales and their lateral line is incomplete or interrupted. They differ from nearly all other marine reef fish by possessing a single nostril on each side of their snout with a blind pouch. Most are strongly territorial and normally solitary but they are highly variable in habitat preference, feeding habits and behavior. They will vigorously defend their territory regardless of the size of the intruder. They are omnivores and feed on benthic algae, crustaceans, plankton, and fish eggs. Reproduction includes elaborate courtships and egg attachment to the bottom via adhesive strands with the males generally guarding the eggs. Eggs hatch within two to seven days and the larvae becomes pelagic for up to seven weeks before settling to the bottom.

There are eighteen members of the Damselfish Family, six from the Atlantic and twelve from the Pacific, currently presented in this website:

Acapulco Damselfish, Stegastes acapulcoensis
Beaubrummel, Stegastes falvilatus
Blacksmith, Chromis punctipinnis
Bumphead Damselfish, Micropathodon bairdii
Cocoa Damselfish, Stegastes xanthurus
Cortez Damselfish, Stegastes rectifraenum
Dusky Damselfish, Stegastes adustus
Garibaldi, Hypsypops rubicundus
Giant Damselfish, Microspathodon dorsalis
Longfin Damselfish, Stegastes diencaeus
Mexican Night Sergeant, Abudefduf declivifons
Night Sergeant, Abudefduf taurus
Panamic Sergeant Major, Abudefduf troschelii
Scissortail Chromis, Chromis atrilobata
Sergeant Major, Abudefdur saxatilis
Silverstripe Chromis, Chromis alta
Threespot Damselfish, Stegastes planifrons
Whitetail Damselfish, Stegastes leucorus