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Species: Microspathodon chrysurus, Yellowtail Damselfish

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brown, C yellow, blue spots upper body
juv: blue + intense blue spots, C yellow

Microspathodon chrysurus (Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1830)

Yellowtail Damselfish

Body deep, oblong, thick, compressed; 1 pair of nostrils; preorbital bone (before & under front of eye) very broad, deep, with pronounced notch over top jaw; margins of preopercle and suborbital bone under rear of eye smooth, scaled; mouth small, protrusible, opens at front; teeth in single row, thick upper teeth flexible, forming a brush, lower jaw teeth in 1 row, stout, incisors; a single continuous dorsal fin, XII, 14-15 rays; anal fin II, 12-13; no projecting short spines at upper and lower base of tail fin; caudal fin bluntly 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; lateral line scales 20-22.

Adult: head and body grey-brown, usually with scattered iridescent blue spots on upper part; tail fin paler than body and often yellow. Juvenile: dark blue with scattered intensely iridescent blue spots; clear or yellow tail fin.

Reaches 21 cm.

Coral and rock reefs.

Depth range: 0-62 m, usually in 1-10 m depth.

Bermuda to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Corallivore
  • Data
  • Ectoparasite cleaner
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Ectoparasites
  • Hard corals
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 21
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 62