Stegastes variabilis (Castelnau, 1855)
Cocoa damselfish
photo by Luiz, Jr., O.

 Family:  Pomacentridae (Damselfishes), subfamily: Pomacentrinae
 Max. size:  12.5 cm TL (male/unsexed)
 Environment:  reef-associated; depth range 0 - 30 m, non-migratory
 Distribution:  Western Atlantic: Brazil. Caribbean (described from Cuban specimens) species refers to Stegastes xanthurus (formerly considered as a junior synonym of S. variabilis). Populations from Brazil and the Caribbean are genetically very distinct (Roberstson & van Tassell, 2012; accessed 08 August 2016; http://biogeodb.stri.si.edu/caribbean/en/thefishes/species/3884).
 Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 12-12; Dorsal soft rays (total): 14-17; Anal spines: 2-2; Anal soft rays: 12-15. Caudal fin slightly forked, with rounded lobes. Dark brown or blue above, shading to yellow below. Narrow, dark, obliquely vertical lines on side. Snout and forehead have bright blue lines. Small dark spot in pectoral axil, another on top of caudal peduncle (Ref. 26938).
 Biology:  Adults inhabit inshore and offshore coral reefs. They feed mainly on benthic algae but also on sponges, ascidians and anemones while juveniles feed on invertebrates like harpacticoid copepods and nemerteans (Ref. 9626). Often solitary (Ref. 9626). Juveniles are aggressively territorial (Ref. 9626). Aggressive when breeding (Ref. 9710). Oviparous, distinct pairing during breeding (Ref. 205). Eggs are demersal and adhere to the substrate (Ref. 205). Males guard and aerate the eggs (Ref. 205). Taken incidentally in traps and small-meshed beach nets (Ref. 5217).
 IUCN Red List Status: Not Evaluated  (Ref. 96402)
 Threat to humans:  harmless
 Country info:   
 

 Entered by: Froese, Rainer - 01.05.91
 Modified by: Luna, Susan M. - 21.07.11
 Checked by: Torres, Armi G. - 24.08.94

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