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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Chromis chromis Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: eye large. Mouth strongly protractile, reaching vertical from eye. Small canine-like teeth in 3 rows on jaws. Preoperculum not slightly serrated. Dorsal finrays XIII-XIV + 10-11; anal finrays 11 + 10-12. Anterior gill arch with 30 slender rakers. Vertebrae 26. Scales large. Head fully scaled. Lateral line scales 24-30. Colour: very young specimens brilliant iridescent blue; young specimens with bl stripes and dorsal and anal fins outlined with blue, and adults dark brown, centre of each scale more pale, golden brown or grey-brow edge of caudal fin uncoloured, chiefly in the middle part. Sometimes (e.g. in the Azores) colour dimorphism: females, young and non-nesting males golden brown, paired and caudal fins orange, the latter with black stripe edged with white on its posterior margin. Breeding males vivid mauve. Size: to 15 cm SL, usually 8-10 cm.

Habitat: Iittoral, mainly in rocky areas (depth 3-35 m). Behaviour: small shoals in midwater above or near rocky reefs or above sea-gras meadows (Posidonia). Food: small planktonic or benthic animals. Reproduction: in summer. Eggs with a tuft of adhesive filaments. Courtship and nesting on rocky, sometimes sandy bottoms. Males take care of eggs.

Distribution: in the Mediterranean and from Portugal southwards to Angola.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Fage, 1918: 48-50, fig. 35-36 | de Gaetani, 1932: 1-16,14 fig. (pl.) | Vodjanitzki & Kazanova, 1954: 309-311, fig. 51(5 fig.) | Padoa, 1956a: 573-576, fig. 429-439 (after Fage & de Gaetani) | Bini, 1968, 5: 1 fig. col. (p. 92).
Otoliths (sagitta). Frost, 1928a: 451, pl. XVII (fig. 3) | Chaine & Duvergier, 1934: 234-239, pl. XII (the 4 lower rows) | Sanz Echeverría, 1941: 348-350, fig. 6-10.

Damsel fish (Chromis chromis)