The sergeantfish, the anemonefish, the puller, aka as chromis, and the damselfish are related and all of them are members of the family of the Pomacentridae. This family is well-represented in the subtropical waters of the Red Sea and boasts ten species that are endemic to the Red Sea.
What they have in common is their small size, not exceeding 20 centimeters. Not only that, they all have what is called a compressed body covered with scales and are equipped with a tiny mouth. The colors from the juveniles are differentiated from the adult species. Other simularities; they’re all diurnal, as in active during the day, preferably in groups, they aggressive and territorial defenders.
These are your Red Sea ‘poster reef fishes’. Some are omnivorous, some are more picky, feeding on algae or plankton only. The adorable anemonefish, also known as the clownfish, live in harmony and symbiosis with anemones.
- Banded dascyllus
- Bluegreen puller-chromis
- Domino damsel
- Half-and-half chromis
- Red sea anemonefish
- Scissortail sergeant
- Sergeant Major
- Sulphur damselfish
- Whitebelly damselfish
The beautifully toned banded dascyllus has a white, scaled body, equipped with vertical black bars or bands, conjuring up visions of a zebra crossing. It measures up to a mere 8 centimeters only and is active at depths of up to 20 meters, close to areas rich in corals. This dascyllus is territorial and likes to hover over corals in schools, looking for zooplankton, invertebrates and algae.
The very sociable bluegreen puller, aka as chromis, roams around sheltered lagoon areas with an abundance of corals, the depth not exceeding 12 meters. This tiny fish reaches 7 centimeters in length only. Needless to say its hue tends to bluish green. Peculiar of note is that the dorsal fins of the males turn black and yellow during the period of reproduction. What the males do is preparing nests for female species to be invited to ‘mate’.
The dark-shaded domino has a peculiar white spot on either side of her scaled body. The domino has a compressed body and what looks look an ‘indented’ head looking from sideways. It is as if she has been hit by a boxer numerous times. She growths up to 14 centimeters and can be found at depths up to 55 meters. It lives on crustaceans and algae. They are very sociable and living in harems that are dominated by just one male. The female domino lays her eggs among corals. They are being guarded by the males until they hatch.
This puller, growing no larger than 9 centimeters only, is very easy recognisable for its bizarre range of colouring; half brown anterior and half white posterior. This chromis is happy in depths up to 36 meters in the vicinity of lagoons with a lot of stony corals and fire corals. They can be seen in small schools, feeding on algae and zooplankton. Sociable by nature, they become pretty territorial during the period of reproduction.
Red Sea Anemonefish
The Red Sea anemone or clownfish lives from the shallows down to 30 meters, generally living in pairs in close harmony with an anemeone. It is what is called a classic symbiosis with reciprogue effects, meaning both the clownfish and anemone benefit from their close association. They both have advantage from their presence.
It is widely suggested by marine biologists that the anemone’s tentacles protect the territoria land aggressive clownfish from predators. The advantage for the anemone is the clownfish making waves by swimming within the anemone’s tentacles, creating a flow of water and hence generating oxygen in the process.
The tiny clownfish reaches a maximum length of 12 centimeters and her presence is seen up to 30 meters in depth.
The name of this sergeant fish arises from the shape of its tail. The scaled body is silverish, marked with five verticals black bars or bands. The scissortail is relatively small with her maximum of 16 centimeters. It groups in large schools in shallow surroundings up to 15 meters in depth, eating algae and zooplankton. The scissortail is a very common sighting in the Red Sea.
The sergeant major is almost identical in appearance to the scissortail version from a chromatic spectrum point of view. It resembles in size with a maximum of 18 centimeters in lenght and also lives in depths up to 15 meters, adoring shallow reef water and feeding on algae, invertebrates and small fish. They taje on a bluish nuance during periods of reproduction.
The sulphur damselfish sticks to depths not exceeding 10 meters, living in areas abundant with corals. It reaches lengths of just 11 centimeters and has a pointed head and a yellow tone. The sulphur damselfish feeds on algae and zooplankton.
The whitebelly damselfish has a small head in relation to her compressed body which is tinted bluish green and with nuances of white to blackish. With its maximum of 13 centimeters in length, this damselfish is hovering over sheltered areas or reef slopes at depths up to 45 meters.
They like roaming around to have zooplankton and algae on their menu and do this either solitary or in smaller groups.