Surge demoiselle Chrysiptera brownriggii, copyright François Libert.

Belongs within: Pomacentridae.
Contains: Amphiprion, Pomacentrus.

Chrysiptera is a genus of relatively deep-bodied damselfishes, with body depth usually greater than two times in standard length (Allen 2001).

The violet demoiselle
Published 21 December 2016

Meet the violet demoiselle Neopomacentrus violascens (shown above in a photo by J. E. Randall). This little fish (adults get up to about 7.5 cm in length) is found in tropical waters of the western Pacific, from Japan in the north, south and east to northern Australia and Vanuatu. They usually associate in large schools around inshore reefs, and can commonly be found hanging around outcropping structures over soft bottoms such as coral or rocky outcrops, or wharf pilings (Koh et al. 1997). Violet demoiselles feed on small plant or animal plankton, such as copepods or algae.

The genus this species belongs to, Neopomacentrus, is one of the more recently recognised genera of the damselfish family Pomacentridae. It is similar to two larger genera in the family, Abudefduf and Pomacentrus, but differs from the former in having the hind margin of the preopercle (the anterior one of the bones making up the operculum or gill cover) crenulate or serrate rather than smooth. Pomacentrus has a similar preopercle, but has the suborbital region at least partially naked whereas Neopomacentrus has that region entirely scaly. Neopomacentrus violascens has a distinctive colour pattern, which is mostly a purplish brown, with bright yellow on the caudal fin and the rear of the dorsal fin.

According to Fishbase, individuals of this species form pairs when mating, and the females lay eggs that sink to the bottom and stick to the substrate. The eggs are then guarded and aerated by the males. I have come across reference to this species having been bred in captivity though I get the impression that they are not one of the most commonly kept aquarium fish. This may be because they are somewhat dull in coloration compared to related species, and they are fairly retiring in character. A recent blog post at Zoo Volunteer noted that damselfish species are rarely bred commercially due to the difficulty of providing suitable conditions. Instead, the market for species of this family is usually supplied with wild-caught individuals, commonly collected through the use of cyanide to essentially suffocate the fish until they lose conciousness. Not particularly pleasant for the fish, and arguably not that pleasant for the aquarist either as fish obtained in this method tend to have a much reduced lifespan.

Systematics of Chrysiptera
<==Chrysiptera Swainson 1839S60 [=Glyphidodontops Bleeker 1877A75]
    |--C. rollandi (Whitley 1961)TMH04, MM09 [=Chromis rollandiA75, Glyphidodontops rollandiA75]
    `--+--C. rex (Snyder 1909)TMH04, M28 (see below for synonymy)
       `--+--C. brownriggii (Bennett 1828)TMH04, M28 (see below for synonymy)
             |  `--+--PomacentrusTMH04
             |     `--NeopomacentrusTMH04
             |          |--*N. anabatoides (Bleeker 1847)A75, A01 [=Glyphisodon anabatoidesA75, Abudefduf anabatoidesM58]
             |          |--N. azysron (Bleeker 1877) [=Pomacentrus azysron]A75
             |          |--N. bankieri (Richardson 1846)A01 (see below for synonymy)
             |          |--N. cochinensis [=Glyphisodon cochinensis]A75
             |          |--N. cyanomos (Bleeker 1856) [=Pomacentrus cyanomos]A75
             |          |--N. fallaxA75
             |          |--N. filamentosus (Macleay 1833)A01 [=Glyphidodon filamentosusM58]
             |          |--N. fuliginosusA75
             |          |--N. melanocarpusA75
             |          |--N. metallicus (Jordan & Seale 1906)A01 [=Abudefduf metallicusA75]
             |          |--N. nemurus (Bleeker 1857)A01
             |          |--N. taeniurus (Bleeker 1856)A01 [=Pomacentrus taeniurusA75]
             |          `--N. violascens (Bleeker 1848)A01 (see below for synonymy)
             `--+--Acanthochromis Gill 1863TMH04, M28
                |    `--*A. polyacanthus (Bleeker 1855) [=Dascyllus polyacanthus]M28
                `--+--Amblyglyphidodon Bleeker 1877TMH04, S60
                   |    |--*A. aureus (Cuvier 1830)A75 [=Glyphisodon aureusA75, Abudefduf aureusM28]
                   |    |--A. azurelineatus (Fowler & Bean 1928)A01
                   |    |--A. batunai Allen 1995A01
                   |    |--A. curacao (Bloch 1787)MM09 (see below for synonymy)
                   |    |--A. leucogaster (Bleeker 1847)MM09 (see below for synonymy)
                   |    `--A. ternatensis (Bleeker 1853) (see below for synonymy)A75
                        |  i. s.: N. bonang (Bleeker 1853)A01
                        |         N. carlsoni (Allen 1975)A01
                        |         N. crossi Allen 1991A01
                        |         N. oxyodon (Bleeker 1857)A01
                        |         N. thoracotaeniatus (Fowler & Bean 1928)A01
                        |--N. polyacanthus (Ogilby 1889)TMH04, A01
                        `--+--N. melas (Cuvier 1830)TMH04, MM09
                           `--N. nigroris (Cuvier 1830)TMH04, MM09
Chrysiptera incertae sedis:
  C. cyanea (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)M28, A75 (see below for synonymy)
  ‘Abudefduf’ azurepunctatus Fowler & Bean 1928 (see below for synonymy)A75
  C. biocellata (Quoy & Gaimard 1824)MM09 (see below for synonymy)
  C. bleekeri (Fowler & Bean 1928)A01 [=Abudefduf bleekeriA75]
  C. caeruleolineata (Allen 1973)A01 [=Abudefduf caeruleolineatusA75, Glyphidodontops caeruleolineatusA75]
  C. cymatilis Allen 1999A01
  C. flavipinnis (Allen & Robertson 1974)A01 [=Abudefduf flavipinnisA75, Glyphidodontops flavipinnisA75]
  C. galba (Allen & Randall 1974)A01 [=Glyphidodontops galbusA75]
  C. hemicyanea (Weber 1913)MM09 (see below for synonymy)
  ‘Glyphisodon’ leucopomus Lesson 1830A75 (see below for synonymy)
  C. niger (Allen 1975)A01 [=Glyphidodontops nigerA75]
  C. notialis (Allen 1975)A01 [=Glyphidodontops notialisA75]
  C. oxycephala (Bleeker 1877)A01
  C. oxyodon (Bleeker 1858) [=Glyphisodon oxyodon, Paraglyphidodon oxyodon]M28
  C. pricei Allen & Adrim 1992A01
  ‘Abudefduf’ rapanui Greenfield & Hensley 1970 [=Glyphidodontops rapanui]A75
  C. sinclairi Allen 1987A01
  C. springeri Allen & Lubbock 1976A01
  C. starcki (Allen 1973)A01 [=Abudefduf starckiA75, Glyphidodontops starckiA75]
  C. talboti (Allen 1975)A01 [=Glyphidodontops talbotiA75]
  C. taupou (Jordan & Seale 1906)A01 [=Abudefduf taupouA75]
  C. trayceyi (Woods & Schultz 1960)A01 [=Pomacentrus traceyiA75, Glyphidodontops traceyiA75]
  C. tricincta (Allen & Randall 1974)A01 [=Glyphidodontops tricinctusA75]
  C. unimaculata (Cuvier 1830)A01 (see below for synonymy)

‘Abudefduf’ azurepunctatus Fowler & Bean 1928 [=Glyphidodontops azureopunctatus; incl. Chrysiptera melanomaculata Aoyagi 1941]A75

Amblyglyphidodon curacao (Bloch 1787)MM09 [=Chaetodon curacaoA75, Abudefduf curacaoM58, Glyphisodon curassaoM28; incl. Glyphisodon smaragdinus Brevoort 1856M28, Glyphidodon trifasciatus Macleay 1883M58]

Amblyglyphidodon leucogaster (Bleeker 1847)MM09 [=Glyphisodon leucogasterA75, Abudefduf leucogasterS60, Glyphidodon leucogasterS60]

Amblyglyphidodon ternatensis (Bleeker 1853) [=Glyphisodon ternatensis; incl. Glyphidodon nigrifrons Macleay 1883]A75

Chrysiptera biocellata (Quoy & Gaimard 1824)MM09 [=Glyphisodon biocellatusA75, Abudefduf biocellatusS60, Glyphidodon biocellatusS60, Glyphidodontops biocellatusA75; incl. Glyphisodon antjerius Cuvier & Valenciennes 1830S60, Abudefduf antjeriusM28, Glyphidodontops antjeriusM58, Glyphisodon zonatus Cuvier 1830A75, A. brownriggii var. zonatusM28, S60, Glyphidodontops zonatusM58]

Chrysiptera brownriggii (Bennett 1828)TMH04, M28 [=Chaetodon brownriggiiM28, Abudefduf brownriggiiM28, Glyphisodon brownriggiiM28; incl. G. dispar Günther 1862M28, G. mutabilis Cartier 1873M28, Abudefduf mutabilisJR10, G. punctulatus Cuvier & Valenciennes 1830M28, G. rossii Bleeker 1854M28, G. taenioruptus Cartier 1873M28, Abudefduf taenioruptusJR10]

Chrysiptera cyanea (Quoy & Gaimard 1825)M28, A75 [=Glyphisodon cyaneusM28, Abudefduf cyaneusM28, Glyphidodontops cyaneusM28; incl. Glyphidodon assimilis Günther 1862A75, Abudefduf assimilisM58, Chrysiptera assimilisM28, Glyphisodon azureus Cuvier 1830A75, *C. azureaM28, *Glyphidodontops azureusA75, Abudefduf elizabethae Fowler 1959A75, Glyphisodon hedleyi Whitley 1927M58, A. hedleyiM58, Iredaleichthys hedleyiM58, A. sapphirus Jordan & Richardson 1908M28, A. turchesius Jordan & Seale 1907A75, Chrysiptera turchesiusM28, Glyphisodon uniocellatus Quoy & Gaimard 1825A75, Abudefduf uniocellatusM58, Chrysiptera uniocellataM28, Glyphidodontops uniocellatusM28]

Chrysiptera hemicyanea (Weber 1913)MM09 [=Abudefduf hemicyaneusA75, Glyphidodontops hemicyaneusA75; incl. A. parasema Fowler 1918A75, Chrysiptera parasemaM28]

Chrysiptera rex (Snyder 1909)TMH04, MM09 [=Abudefduf rexM28, Glyphidodontops rexA75; incl. G. cyaneus Bleeker 1877 non Glyphisodon cyaneus Quoy & Gaimard 1825A75]

Chrysiptera unimaculata (Cuvier 1830)A01 [=Glyphisodon unimaculatusS60, Abudefduf unimaculataM58, Glyphidodontops unimaculatusA75; incl. Glyphidodon hemimelas Kner 1868A75]

‘Glyphisodon’ leucopomus Lesson 1830A75 [=Glyphidodontops leucopomusA75; incl. Glyphisodon albofasciatus Hombron & Jacquinot 1853A75, Glyphidodon amabilis De Vis 1884A75, Abudefduf amabilisM58, Chrysiptera amabilisM28]

Neopomacentrus bankieri (Richardson 1846)A01 [=Glyphisodon bankieriS60, Abudefduf bankieriS60, Glyphidodon bankieriS60, Parapomacentrus bankieriA75, Pomacentrus bankieriM58]

Neopomacentrus violascens (Bleeker 1848)A01 [=Pristotis violascensM58, Pomacentrus violascensM58; incl. Dascyllus xanthurus Bleeker 1853M28, Tetradrachmum xanthurusM28]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A75] Allen, G. R. 1975. Damselfishes of the South Seas. T.F.H.

[A01] Allen, J. R. 2001. Pomacentridae. Damselfishes (anemonefishes). In: Carpenter, K. E., & V. H. Niem (eds) FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific vol. 5. Bony fishes part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae) pp. 3337–3356. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations: Rome.

[JR10] Jordan, D. S., & R. E. Richardson. 1910. Check-list of the species of fishes known from the Philippine archipelago. Bureau of Printing: Manila.

Koh, J. R., J. G. Myoung & Y. U. Kim. 1997. Morphological study on the fishes of the family Pomacentridae. I. A taxonomical revision of the family Pomacentridae (Pisces; Perciformes) from Korea. Korean Journal of Systematic Zoology 13 (2): 173–192.

[M28] Montalban, H. R. 1928. Pomacentridae of the Philippine Islands. Bureau of Printing: Manila.

[MM09] Moore, G., & S. Morrison. 2009. Fishes of three North West Shelf atolls of Western Australia: Mermaid (Rowley Shoals), Scott and Seringapatam Reefs. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 77: 221–255.

[M58] Munro, I. S. R. 1958. The fishes of the New Guinea region: a check-list of the fishes of New Guinea incorporating records of species collected by the Fisheries Survey Vessel “Fairwind” during the years 1948 to 1950. Papua and New Guinea Agricultural Journal 10 (4): 97–369 (reprinted: 1958. Territory of Papua and New Guinea Fisheries Bulletin no. 1).

[S60] Smith, J. L. B. 1960. Coral fishes of the family Pomacentridae from the western Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. Ichthyological Bulletin 19: 317–349.

[TMH04] Tang, K. L., K. M. McNyset & N. I. Holcroft. 2004. The phylogenetic position of five genera (Acanthochromis, Azurina, Chrysiptera, Dischistodus, and Neopomacentrus) of damselfishes (Perciformes: Pomacentridae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30: 823–828.

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