IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Comprehensive Description

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  Common names: damselfish (English), castañuela (Espanol), jaqueta (Espanol)
Microspathodon dorsalis (Gill, 1862)

Giant 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; teeth in single row, upper teeth flexible, forming a brush; lower gill rakers 18-20; a single continuous dorsal fin, XII, 15-16; anal rays II,13-14; dorsal, anal and tail fins with pointed filamentous rear tips; pectoral rays 22-23; no projecting short spines at upper and lower base of tail fin;  tail fin distinctly concave; scales are moderately large and rough; lateral-line scales 20-22; body scaled, head largely scaled, as are the basal parts of the median fins; lateral line incomplete, ends under end of dorsal fin base.

Dark grey blue, sometimes nearly bluish black; head and anterior part of body often slightly lighter with dusky scale margins; margins of soft dorsal, tail, and anal fins narrowly white or light blue; breeding males:  front 1/2-2/3 of body (and head) very pale, nearly whitish, sometimes with a darker bar below the front part of the dorsal fin; juveniles normally blue-grey, with neon-blue markings on the face and fin borders, and a line of 4 blue spots above the lateral line; an unusual juvenile variety  from the Gulf of Chiriqui and Perlas Islands in Panama is  mainly lime green with a blue iris and scattered blue spots along the back and a blackish saddle-like marking on the dorsal edge of caudal peduncle.

Maximum size to 31 cm.

Inhabits rocky reefs.

Depth: 1-25 m.

Southern Baja and the lower 2/3 of the Gulf of California to Ecuador, plus all the oceanic islands except Clipperton.


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© Shorefishes of the tropical eastern Pacific online information system. www.stri.org/sftep

Source: Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific Online Information System

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