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Stegastes planifrons Species ID:
Small oval-shaped fish with a gently sloping forehead (1) and rounded fins (2). Adults are ellowish-brown to dark brown and are characterized by a yellow crescent over the eye (3) and dark spots at the base of each pectoral fin as well as straddling the tail (4). Sexes appear similar. Juveniles are bright yellow with one spot more than adults found at the top rear on each side of the body Maximum Size:
13 cm (5 in) Longevity:
Up to 19 years Status:
Not currently on the IUCN endangered species list Threespot Damselfish & People:
Not fished for commercial or subsistence fisheries, and uncommon in the aquarium trade due to its aggressiveness
Very common on coral reefs throughout the Caribbean Coral Reef Zone:
Found in virtually every coral reef zone – shore, back reef, reef flat, fore reef and drop-off zones Favourite Habitat:
Commonly seen on algae covered rock or coral rubble. Its preferred microhabitat is among the protective branches of staghorn coral (Acropora cervicornis) common in the back reef and fore reef zones Depth:
1 – 30 m (3 – 100 ft)
A Day in The Life
Dawn: Spawning occurs within male territories just after sunrise
Day: Individuals feed, tend their algal gardens, and defend their territory
Dusk: Feeding and territorial activities are reduced and fish seek shelter for the night
Night: Fish hide in caves or within the branches of corals
Who Eats Who?
The threespot damselfish is a herbivore, feeding mainly on the algae that it cultivates as well as on the tiny organisms called epiphytes that grow on the algae. Despite its aggressiveness, the threespot damselfish has little in the way of protection against predation. It is eaten by a wide range of reef predators including grouper and jacks.
Scuba Diver & Snorkeler Best Practices
Refrain from feeding marine life. Coral reef organisms should never be fed. Although this may seem like a harmless practice that allows you to get close to your favourite organisms, it actually disturbs normal feeding patterns and diets. Scientists have documented turtles being fed bread, dog food and even cheese—none of these foods are found naturally in the marine environment, and they can cause untold stress to the organisms that consume them. Conditioning wild animals to become comfortable with hand-feeding by humans alters their behaviour and makes them more vulnerable to capture, which directly affect their survival—this is particularly a concern for endangered sea turtles.