The Ternate chromis Chromis ternatensis is also known as the Golden chromis and the Swallowtail Puller. Usually found above branching corals in large numbers they are an abundant fish on the East African Coast.
The body has an oval shape and a forked tail. The upper half of the body is a olive to golden brown colour and the lower half lightens to white on the lower belly. The rear of the body is white and there is a black dot at the base of the pelvic fins. The dorsal fin is black in the front and white in the rear. The dorsal fin is edged with blue and the eye there is a blue mark just above the eye. The forked tail is black with a blue line on the edge. They grow up to 10cm in length but are usually in the 7 cm range.
IN THE WILD
The Ternate Damselfish are almost always seen in small to large shoals swimming a meter or so above branching corals, particularly the acropora species. At the slightest hint of danger the entire shoal disappears simultaneously into hiding. They are common on the sheltered reefs in Tanzania.
The Ternate Damselfish is found across the Indo West Pacific area from East Africa and the Red sea to eastern Australia, Samoa and Tonga and north to the Ryukyu Islands. In Tanzanian waters they are usually found between 3 and 20 meters. They are normally found only on protected reefs in Tanzania and do not favor turbulent areas.
The Ternate Damselfish feed on zooplankton and small benthic invertebrates.
Pairing before mating has been noted and the eggs are demersal and adhere to the substrate. The mating process is thought to be similar to other Chromis species. Males usually clean an area of the substrate and once a female is attracted she lays her eggs on the cleaned surface. These are then fertilized by the male who guards and aerates the eggs until they hatch.
Ternate Damselfish are not commonly found in the aquarium trade. They are far more passive than other damselfish and there is no reason they could not be kept.
TERNATE CHROMIS CLASSIFICATION
Species: C. ternatensis
- The Reef Guide fishes, corals, nudibranchs & other invertebrates: East and South Coasts of Southern Africa by Dennis King & Valda Fraser
- Dianne J. Bray, Chromis fieldi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Sep 2017, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4855