Fun Black Damselfish Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Black Damselfish Facts For Kids

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The black damselfish (Neoglyphidodon melas) is a marine fish species of the Pomacentridae family that also features the anemone fish. Also known by various other names such as bluefin or royal damsel, black damsel, and bowtie damselfish, it is a member of the larger group of damselfish consisting mostly of marine and rarely freshwater or brackish water species. The group consists of five subfamilies (Stegastenae, Pomacentrinae, Lepidozyginae, Chrominae, and Abudefdufinae) with most of the fish species not exceeding 12 in (30 cm) in length.

The black damsel species is most commonly found in coral reefs of the subtropical and tropical waters of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. While adults are dark gray, dark green-black, or bluish-black in color, juveniles are paler with a yellow and blue dorsal surface as well as blue anal and pelvic fins. This dramatic color change as the fish transforms from the juvenile to the adult stage is a unique feature of the species. The fish is quite territorial, and the adult fish tend to be particularly aggressive towards smaller members. The black damsel species is also a popular fish choice among aquarium hobbyists. This omnivore fish will fare quite well in an aquarium environment if optimum tank conditions are maintained. If you find this fish species interesting, read on to know more about them!

You can also check out other interesting articles on animals, such as these giant oarfish facts and monkfish facts.

Fun Black Damselfish Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?


What do they eat?


Average litter size?

Not estimated

How much do they weigh?

Not estimated

How long are they?

7.1 in (18 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

Dark gray, dark green-black, bluish-black

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Coral Bleaching

What is their conservation status?

Not Evaluated

Where you'll find them?

Lagoons, Aquariums, Coral Reefs


Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean









Black Damselfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a black damselfish?

The black damsel (Neoglyphidodon melas) is a species of marine fish of the damselfish family Pomacentridae.

What class of animal does a black damselfish belong to?

Black damsels belong to the class Actinopterygii which includes all ray-finned fish.

How many black damselfishes are there in the world?

The global population size of this damselfish species is not available.

Where does a black damselfish live?

The black damsel is not a freshwater fish. They are found in tropical and subtropical marine habitats such as lagoons and coral reefs. Besides, the fish is popular in the aquarium trade and thrives well in tanks and aquariums of suitable size and with abundant corals and live rock.

What is a black damselfish's habitat?

Black damsels are widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific marine waters, particularly areas that are abundant in coral reefs. The juvenile fish are especially seen around coral reefs that offer hiding spots. In the Pacific Ocean, the range of the fish includes areas around the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, and Indonesia. In the Indian Ocean, they are found around the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, Madagascar, Eastern Africa, the Arabian Sea, Seychelles, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Andaman Sea, and western Australia.

When kept in tanks or in an aquarium, the black damsel must be provided with live rock and corals. The ambient water temperature should be 74-82 F (23.3-27.8 C) with a pH of 8.1-8.4. The minimum tank capacity or size needs to 50 gal (189 l). Since they are not freshwater fish, the water in the tanks must be of appropriate salinity.

Who do black damselfishes live with?

Black damsels are mostly seen alone or in pairs. Even juvenile fishes are seen singularly. Adults tend to be more reclusive than the juvenile fish. Black damsels are extremely territorial and will always be found in roughly the same area. Even in a tank, the non-peaceful and aggressive temperament of the black damsels makes it impossible to house these fishes with other animals.

How long does a black damselfish live?

In captivity, the black damsels can live up to two to three years of age. In contrast, sawfishes can live for more than 30 years.

How do they reproduce?

The black damsels form pairs before mating, and the eggs are demersal, meaning that the eggs are deposited in the substrate. The male fish cleans a small patch of a rock by rubbing its body on it. Once the eggs are laid on this substrate, the male will fertilize, guard, and aerate the eggs until they hatch.

What is their conservation status?

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species has not yet evaluated the conservation status of the black damsel.

Black Damselfish Fun Facts

What do black damselfishes look like?

Adult and juvenile black damsels have starkly different physical features. The juvenile fish is oval in shape with a silver-colored body. The pelvic fins are quite prominent, and the slightly forked caudal fin has faint black lines on its outer edge. As the juvenile fishes age, their pelvic and anal fins assume a yellow hue, with a yellow line appearing on the outer edge of the caudal fin. Soon, the dorsal region of the body also becomes yellow, with the anal and pelvic fins changing into a vibrant blue color with black interior rays. With further aging of the fish, the yellow and blue hues vanish, and the entire body becomes dark gray, dark green-black, or bluish-black in color.

The adult black damsels are bluish-black, and the juveniles are paler.

How cute are they?

No doubt, juvenile black damsels look cute and adorable due to their sheer size and vibrant hues in blue and yellow. Adults, however, are not particularly cute, and the dark gray, dark green-black, or bluish-black tone of the body renders them quite unattractive. However, other fishes like toadfishes are even less cute than them.

How do they communicate?

No specific detail is available regarding how the black damsels communicate. However, these fishes are extremely aggressive and territorial when it comes to defending their area. The adult fish are aggressive towards smaller individuals. The larger the fish, the more aggressive it gets.

How big is a black damselfish?

Adult black damsels can grow to a size of 7.1 in (18 cm). They are about the same size as the threespot dascyllus or domino damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus) but smaller than clownfishes. They are also much smaller than spiny dogfish.

How fast can a black damselfish swim?

The swimming speed of the black damsel is not available.

How much does a black damselfish weigh?

The exact weight range of the black damsel is not available.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female black damsels do not have distinct names.

What would you call a baby black damselfish?

Like most other fishes, a baby black damsel would be called a fry.

What do they eat?

The black damsel is an omnivore with a varied diet. Juveniles mainly feed on plankton. As juveniles get older, their diet shifts to soft corals. Adult fishes also feed on soft corals along with the feces of the Tridacna clams. The clams digest nutrients and expel pellets which are then eaten by the black damsels. Aside from corals, the clam feces make up a major portion of the fish's diet. When kept in an aquarium, the fish will readily eat flaked foods and frozen preparations.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, black damsel adults are dangerous and aggressive towards smaller fish as well as their own kind. They are even known to attack fishes larger than themselves. Adults defend their territorial boundaries aggressively, and the males also tend to become protective while guarding eggs. The fish is a threat to shrimp and nips at soft coral. Juveniles are relatively peaceful. The fish is not known to pose any danger to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

While the black damsel is a popular aquarium pet, its aggressive nature will pose a threat to other fish within the enclosure. Hence, only one black damsel should be kept per tank and preferably with other aggressive fish species.

Did you know...

Black damsels can reach depths of 3.3-118.1 ft (1-36 m) under sea level.

The threespot domino damselfish (Dascyllus trimaculatus) adult looks very similar to the black damsels except that the former has three domino-like spots on its body, with two on the lateral sides and one between the eyes.

Male damselfish perform the signal jump as part of the courtship behavior whereby males rise in a water column and quickly swim back downward. The performance involves rapid swimming, and the female chooses the male that displays the most vigor during the jumps.

Anemone fishes belong to the damselfish family, but unlike black damsels that live amidst coral reefs, the anemone fishes dwell among the stinging tentacles of sea anemones.

The four stripe damselfish (Dascyllus melanurus) is a black and white damselfish with alternating black and white vertical bands on the body.

How did the black damselfish get its name?

The black damselfish gets its name from the coloration on the body.

How do black damselfish protect themselves?

Studies have found that the damselfish release distress chemicals when under attack. This chemical cue attracts other predators to the site, and the resulting chaos gives ample time for the fish to escape. In addition, the chemical signal helps nearby fish to become alert and triggers escape behavior in them.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these herring facts and catfish facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable black damselfish coloring pages.

Written By
Moumita Dutta

Moumita is a multilingual content writer and editor. She has a PostGraduate Diploma in sports management, which enhanced her sports journalism skills, as well as a degree in journalism and mass communication. She's good at writing about sports and sporting heroes. Moumita has worked with many soccer teams and produced match reports, and sports is her primary passion.

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