Sergeant - Major Fish
    AKA Five Banded Damselfish
    Abudefduf saxatilis [Linneaus)

    Name: Sergeant - Major Fish
    Scientific name: Abudefduf saxatilis
    Range: Atlantic Ocean
    Habitat:  Lives near coral reefs or rock jetties
    Status: Overall there is no large threat to the species. The global  trend of coral reef destruction could result in endangerment. 
    Diet in the wild: Omnivorous - plankton found in coral reaf or nearby rocks
    Diet in the zoo: Because they are damsel fish they will eat about anything.  The zoo feeds them brine shrimp that they buy frozen and other types of prepared frozen plates.
    Location in the zoo:  James R. Record Aquarium

    Physical description: 

    The Sergeant Major Fish can grow up to 8"(20cm)TL, which is a relatively large damsel fish.  It is not suprising to see this bright beautiful fish grow to 6 or 7 inches(15-18cm) in total length.  It's generally lively colored and laterally compressed with upper body being yellow, occassionally with shades of blue.  The lower body of the fish is white with shades of gray.  These black vertical stripes narrows towards the belly, with a dark spot at the base of the pectoral fin.  They have a small terminal mouth, a single nasal opening on each side of the head and a single continuous dorsal fin.

    General information: 

    This species is a coral reef fish that is found in many reefs in the Atlantic Ocean.  They are common in tropical and subtropical shallows all over the world.  This fish adopted its name sergeant major because of the five black bars that resemble the insignia of that rank in the military services.  The Sergeant Major fish scientific name is Abudefduf saxatilisThis scientific name stands for Abudefduf - father, saxa - living among rocks, tilus - tile-like in color.  The reason it is called father is because it is aggressive and bossy to the other inhabitants of a reef.

    Sergeant Major - Army Insignia
    Enlisted Rank Insignia

    Special anatomical, physiological or behavioral adaptations:
    The Sergeant Major fish really doesn't have any special adaptions except for its aggressiveness and  determining sexes - if male or female species. 
    During the months of April - August mating occurs and territories are established for reproduction.  This is when  the male is extremely territorial .  Also, during mating the male of the species becomes deep blue (note the blue fish in the photo below).  Other than waiting for mating season it is really hard to determine males from females and vice versa.  Many damsel fish change sex over their lifetimes, beginning as male, and then as they grow, become female. 

    Comments about the Sergeant Major Fish of the Fort Worth Zoo:
    The Fort Worth Zoo agreed that these fish are beautiful and are easy to take care of.  They basically will eat anything.  They are also great pets! 

    Personal Observations:

    These species are very intelligent with an interesting personality. 

    Sources and Links

    The Reef Gallery:  Damselfish

    FishBase Species Summary

    Abudefduf Damsels

    Military insignias.

    Wilson, Roberta and James Q.  Wilson. 1985. Watching Fishes.p13

    Smith, C.L.1997. National Audobon Societies Tropical Fish Communities. University Press Cambridge. 382 pp

    Damsel school  photo from FishBase

    Page author: {short description of image}
    Shameya N. Roberts

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