Yellowtail Damselfish is a fish native to tropical areas like the Caribbean coast of Panama. It’s commonly found in coral reefs and is not endangered.
People catch this fish for food and to keep it in aquariums, but only on a small scale.
The invasive Lionfish may pose a threat to this fish.
Yellowtail Damselfish lives in shallow waters of coral reefs near caves and fire coral. It mainly eats algae, but also feeds on fire coral polyps and other small creatures.
Young ones sometimes clean parasites off other fish species.
Yellowtail Damselfish can be kept safely in reef aquariums and have been raised in captivity before.
Yellowtail Damselfish Interesting Facts
- Yellowtail Damselfish have striking color differences between young and adult fish, leading scientists to once think they were separate species.
- They inhabit coral reefs in shallow waters, feeding on algae and fire coral polyps.
- Grows up to 6.0 inches (15.0 centimeters) long, with 12 dorsal spines and yellow tails.
- These fish lay eggs that stick to underwater surfaces, with males guarding them until they hatch.
Yellowtail Damselfish Habitat
Yellowtail Damselfish is a marine fish found in the Western Atlantic Ocean. Its range extends from southern Florida and Bermuda to Brazil.
Yellowtail Damselfish lives in marine environments near reefs and doesn’t migrate.
It prefers shallow depths, usually between 0 to 10 meters but can be found up to 120 meters deep.
It thrives in subtropical waters with latitudes between 33°N to 25°S and longitudes between 98°W to 34°W.
Yellowtail Damselfish Physical Characteristics
Size: 6.0 inches (15.0 centimeters)
Yellowtail Damselfish grows up to a maximum length of 5.5 inches (21.0 centimeters) but usually is found around 6.0 inches (15.0 centimeters).
This fish has 12 dorsal spines and 14 to 15 soft rays on the dorsal fin. It also has 2 anal spines and 12 to 13 soft rays on the anal fin. The tail is bright yellow in color.
Adult and young Yellowtail Damselfish have very different body colors.
Young ones have dark blue body with a transparent tail and electric blue spots on their sides. As they become adults, their body turns dark yellowish-brown with darker edges on the scales.
These differences were so striking that scientists once thought they were two separate species.
Yellowtail Damselfish Reproduction
Yellowtail Damselfish lays eggs to reproduce. During breeding, it forms a distinct pair. The eggs stick to surfaces underwater and don’t float.
Male fish protect the eggs and help them get enough air until they hatch.