Damselfishes (Pomacentridae) Overview
Damselfishes are small (six inches or less) and usually brightly-colored reef fish, usually occurring in abundance. They have a single dorsal fin and a forked tail. In Hawaii, they can easily be spotted swarming over coral heads. Damsels feed on plankton or algae.
There are about 345 species of damselfishes, of which 17 occur in Hawaii. Only the larger species have Hawaiian names, probably because the smaller ones were not considered food sources by the ancient Hawaiians. Common damselfish in Hawaii include the Hawaiian Sergeant (mamo), Blackspot Sergeant (kupipi) and Hawaiian Dascyllus (‘alo’ilo’i).