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Species: Abudefduf saxatilis, the Sergeant-major

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silver, back yellow
5 narrow black bars

Abudefduf saxatilis (Linnaeus, 1758)


Body relatively deep, oval, compressed; 1 pair of nostrils; preorbital bone narrow, without a notch above top lip; suborbital bone under eye not attached to cheek, that bone and preopercle both with smooth edges; mouth small, protrusible opens at front; teeth in single row, with notched or flat tips; a single continuous dorsal fin, XIII, 12-13; anal fin II, 10-13; no projecting short spines at upper and lower base of tail fin; caudal fin forked; scales are moderately large and rough; body scaled, head largely scaled, as are the basal parts of the median fins; lateral line incomplete, ends under end of dorsal fin base; 19-23 scales on lateral line.

Adult: Back and sides silvery grey; yellow cast on upper back; 5 black bars that are narrower than interspaces on side. Juvenile silvery white with 5 thin black bars; upper body and dorsal fin yellow.

Size: grows to 23 cm.   

Habitat: occurs along edges of reefs; juveniles often in flotsam.

Depth: 0-41 m.

The tropical and subtropical Atlantic; 43N to 35S.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom + water column
  • Bottom
  • Near Bottom
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef only
  • Flotsam
  • Rocks
  • Water column
  • Corals
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Zooplankton
  • Pelagic jellyfish/ctenophores
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Benthic
  • Pelagic larva
  • No pelagic phase
Global Endemism
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species..
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • Continent
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Also in Brazil
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Temperate (>35N)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 23
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 41