colspan=2 style="text-align: centerTemplate:; background-colorTemplate:COLON Template:Taxobox colour" | Clownfish and damselfish
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Cocoa damselfish, Stegastes variabilis
colspan=2 style="text-align: centerTemplate:; background-colorTemplate:COLON Template:Taxobox colour" | Scientific classification
colspan=2 style="text-align: centerTemplate:; background-colorTemplate:COLON Template:Taxobox colour" | Genera

See text.

Pomacentridae is a family of perciform fish, comprising the damselfishes and clownfishes. They are exclusively marine (rarely brackish), and noted for their hardy constitutions and territoriality. Many are brightly coloured, so they are popular in aquaria.

Around 360 species are classified in this family, in approximately 28 genera. Of these, members of two genera, Amphiprion and Premnas (subfamily Amphiprioninae), are commonly called clownfish or anemonefish, while members of other genera (e.g. Chromis) are commonly called damselfish.[1]

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The name of the family is derived from the Greek words Greek "poma" and "kentron". Poma roughly translates to the English "cover", referring to the fishes' operculum. Kentron on the other hand is Greek for sting. These two refer to a particular diagnostic character of the family, specifically the spine(s) that can be found along the margin of the family members' operculum.[1]

Distribution and habitat[edit | edit source]

Pomacentrids are found worldwide in tropical and warm temperate seas. Around 80% of species are found in coral reefs from East Africa to Polynesia, with Australian waters having the greatest concentration of species. The remaining 20% of species are found in Atlantic or eastern Pacific seas, while just three species are native to brackish estuarine environments.[2]

Most members of the family live in shallow water, from 2 to 15 meters (6 to 50 feet) in depth, although there are a few species inhabiting deeper water. Most species are specialists, living in specific parts of the reef, such as sandy lagoons, steep reef slopes, or areas exposed to strong wave action. In general, the coral is used as shelter, and many species can only survive in its presence.[2]

The bottom-dwelling species are territorial, occupying and defending a portion of the reef, often centred around an area of shelter. By keeping away other species of fish, at least some pomacentrids encourage the growth of thick mats of algae within their territories.[2]

Characteristics[edit | edit source]

Pomacentrids have an oval body, which is slender from side to side. They have medium-sized scales, typically with a serrated margin. They have one or two rows of teeth, which may be conical or spoon-shaped.

Different species display a wide range of colours, with bright shades of yellow, red, orange and blue predominating, although some are a relatively drab brown, black, or grey. The young are often a different colour to the adults, often being brighter.

Pomacentrids are omnivorous or herbivorous, feeding off algae, plankton, and small bottom-dwelling crustaceans, depending on their precise habitat. Only a small number of genera, such as Cheiloprion, eat the coral that they live amongst.[2]

Reproduction[edit | edit source]

Before breeding, the males clear an area of algae and invertebrates to create a nest. They engage in ritualised courtship displays, which may consist of rapid bursts of motion, chasing or nipping females, stationary hovering, or wide extension of the fins. After being attracted to the site, the female lays a string of sticky eggs that attach to the substrate. The male swims behind the female as she lays the eggs, and fertilises them externally. Depending on species, a female may lay anything from fifty to a thousand eggs at a particular nest.[2]

The male guards the nest for the two to seven days that it takes for the eggs to hatch. The young are initially transparent, and float in the open water for a few weeks, until arriving at a suitable environment and taking on their full juvenile colours.[2]

In captivity, pomacentrids have been observed to live for up to eighteen years, but they probably do not live longer than ten to twelve years in the wild.[2]

Genera[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]


External links[edit | edit source]


ca:Pomacèntrid cs:Sapínovití de:Riffbarsche es:Pomacentridae fa:شقایق‌ماهیان fr:Pomacentridae ko:자리돔과 it:Pomacentridae lt:Vienuolžuvinės hu:Korállszirtihal-félék nl:Rifbaarzen of Koraaljuffertjes ja:スズメダイ科 no:Jomfrufisker pl:Garbikowate pt:Pomacentridae ru:Помацентровые sk:Pomacentrovité fi:Koralliahvenet sv:Frökenfiskar


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