The sapphire damselfish Pomacentrus pavo, is also known as the peacock damselfish or blue damselfish. They are a colorful fish that is common on the East African coast. Often confused with the more common green damsel, Chromis viridis, they are actually quite easy to differentiate. The green damselfish has a markedly forked tail whereas the sapphire damselfish does not.
The base color is a blue green color, with blue striations vertically down the body and horizontally across the face. The fins are lined with a light blue stripe and the anal fin has a more marked darker blue stripe. Mature specimens usually have a dark blue or black dot behind the gill.
IN THE WILD
The sapphire damselfish are often found in or around Acropora corals in shoals of up to 30. They are quick to dart into the coral for protection and make a colorful sight as they dart in and out of the coral in unison. They are highly territorial and will always be found in the same area.
The sapphire damselfish is found across the Indian ocean from East Africa across to Lord Howe Island and north to Taiwan. Usually they are found in the shallower sections of the reef and in Tanzania are seldom if ever seen deeper than 12 meters.
The sapphire damselfish feed on zooplankton and algae.
Pairing before mating has been noted and the eggs are demersal and adhere to the substrate. The males guard and aerate the eggs until they hatch.
Sapphire damselfish have a highly territorial nature and refuse to allow other fish in their territory. Because of this territorial nature they are seldom if ever seen in aquariums.
SAPPHIRE DAMSELFISH CLASSIFICATION
Species: P. pavo
- The Reef Guide fishes, corals, nudibranchs & other invertebrates: East and South Coasts of Southern Africa by Dennis King & Valda Fraser