Dascyllus trimaculatus DASTRI-082395-PANCUR-001

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 2nd, 1995 and is filed under Damselfishes, Spawning Reports.

The Breeder’s Registry© Information contained in this report is taken from submitted observations from aquarist unless noted otherwise (see comments). Information may be reproduced providing the Breeder’s Registry is cited.

Breeder ID: DASTRI-082395-PANCUR-001

Date received: 8/23/95

Identification: Dascyllus trimaculatus (Rüppell, 1829)

Geographic origin: Indo-Pacific  

Taxonomy: (after I.C.Z.N.)

Kingdom Animalia

Phylum Chordata Subphylum Vertebrata

Class Osteichthyes Subclass Actinopterygii Infraclass Teleostei

Superorder Acanthopterygii Order Perciformes Suborder Percoidei

Family Pomacentridae

Genus Dascyllus

Species trimaculatus (Rüppell, 1829)

Description: Juveniles are very boldly marked with three distinct white spots on a solid black body. The spots fade as the animal matures and the black “dulls”. Some individuals from turbid waters may have red-orange or partly red-orange fins and adjacent body parts. This species is commonly confused with Dascyllus abisella (Gill ) which is endemic to Hawaii and D. strasburgi which is endemic to the Marquesas Islands. D. trimaculatus does not occur in these areas. D. abisella grows slightly larger, has a slightly larger mid-body spot and lacks the white
spot on the forehead. It has been suggested that D. albisella is from D. trimaculatus stock which became isolated in Hawaii (Axelrod, et. al.1985). It is commonly seen in shallow waters and there have been documented symbiotic associations with anemones (Fautin & Allen, 1994)

Meristic characteristics: Meristic: D. XI-XII, 13-16; A. II, 13-14; ~28 scale rows. Grows to 15 cm. Compare to A. albisella: D. XII,16; A. II, 15; 27 vertical scale rows. Grows to 20 cm  

Duration male(yr): 1.3

Size male (mm): 89

Duration female (yr): 1.3

Size female (mm): 64

Broodstock notes: Both were ~ 38 mm when purchased together. Spawning began 13 months after purchase.

Physical differences: Male slightly larger than female, more robust and aggressive. Undergoes a color change to a very light (almost white) color. Female also does this, but less frequently.

Adult diet: Spirulina flake, Wardleys Total Marine Pellets ®, Superba Krill®. Fed twice daily 30 minutes after lights on and 30 minutes before lights off.

Pre-spawning activity: Male becomes more aggressive several days before spawning occurs, swimming slightly below the surface of the water and darts quickly downward 7 – 10 cm. This continues 5 – 10 times before “normal” swimming resumes. The cycle repeats every few minutes. Female s not involved.

Time spawning began: varies

Area spawning occurred: never laid in the same place (10 spawnings). Eggs laid on rocks or coral skeletons. Both fish make numerous passes over spawning area.

Frequency of spawning: every 9 – 10 days

Egg description: ~ 75 mm circular mass

Approximate quantity: ~1000?

Size: ~ 0.5 mm ( Garnard, 1957, and Stevenson, 1963 indicate egg size for Dascyllus species to be 0.49 to 0.85 mm; from Thresher, 1984)

Egg changes / development: When eggs are ready to hatch one end detaches and “waves” in current. Very apparent while male “cleans” nest.

Incubation period: 4 -5 days

Time hatching occurred: 30 minutes after lights out

Size of hatching larvae: 1 mm

Yolk sac present? Unknown

Newly hatched appearance: larvae are usually all white and rest in a head down position. Attracted to light.

Transfer / removal method: not collected. No attempt to rear  

Spawning tank size (liter): 570, 180 cm x 51 cm x 61 cm

Sides of tank covered? Yes, back is black

Lighting & photo period: 4 20 watt fluorescent, 2 6000K daylight, 2 actinic, 14 hours. 7 – 8 cm from surface.

Filtration: Wet/dry with ~ 75 liters of bio-balls. Oceanic® protein skimmer. Carbon and filter pad used in Magnum 350®. Circulation provided by Little Giant MDSC4®

Additives and dosages: none, Instant Ocean ASW, < 15% water changes every 3 months.

Water temperature (F): 78

Specific gravity: 1.0225

pH: 8.1

Nitrate: 16 mg/l

Comments: Original report indicated female larger. Subsequent communications with author indicated that the initial assumption was that the female was larger, but later observations revealed the reverse, which is how the report is presented. This would be consistent with other documented observations.

Vernacular name: Three spot damsel, Domino fish (damsel)

Original description: Described by Rüppell in 1829 as Pomacentrus trimaculatus, from specimens collected at Massawa, Eritrea, Red Sea and published in Fische Rothen Meeres 1828-30 Pl. 8 (fig. 3). Validated as Dascyllus trimaculatus by Bauchot et al. 1978, Dor 1984,
Ida in Masuda et al. 1984, Allen 1986 and Allen 1991.


Dascyllus axillaris, (Smith 1935) from a single specimen collected at Great Fish Point, South
Africa. And published in Rec.Albany Mus. Grahamstown v.4

Dascyllus niger, (Bleeker 1847) from specimen(s) collected at Jakarta (Batavia), Java,
Indonesia, and published in Verh. Batav. Genootsch. Kunst. Wet. v. 21

Dascyllus niger bimaculatus, var. (Bleeker 1847) published in Verh. Batav. Genootsch. Kunst.
Wet. v. 21..

Dascyllus unicolor, (Bennett 1831 from specimens collected at Mauritiu and published in [Proc.
Zool. Soc. Lond. 1830-31 (pt 1)

Sparus nigricans, Gronow in (Gray 1854) from specimen collected at India and published in Cat.
Fish Gronow; . [Gronovius coll.] Type catalog: Wheeler

Pomacentrus nuchalis, Anonymous [Bennett] 1830 in Memoir Life Raffles, Collected in
Sumatra, Indonesia.

Word origin: The genus Dascyllus is from the Greek word dascyll which means a kind of fish. The species trimaculatus is from the Latin root tri meaning three (3); and maculat meaning spot or spotted.

Suggested reading:

Danilowicz, Bret S., & Brown, Christopher L., Rearing methods for two damselfish
species:Dascyllus albisella (Gill) and D. aruanus (Linnaeus.), 1992, Aquaculture, 106, pages
141-149; Elsevier Science Publishers B. V., Amsterdam

Fautin, Daphne G., & Allen, Gerald R., Anemone Fishes and their Host Sea Anemones, 1994,
Tetra-Press, TetraSales Division, 3001 Commerce Street, Blacksburg, Virginia, 24060-6671,
USA ISBN 1-56465-118-5 (Western Australian Museum, 1992, ISBN 0-7309-5216-9)

Thresher, R. E., Reproduction in Reef Fishes, 1984, T. F. H. Publications, 211 West Sylvania
Avenue, Neptune City, NJ 07753 USA, ISBN 0-87666-808-2

About this report: Information contained in this report is taken from submitted observations. Taxonomy, Synonomy, Original description , Word origin and Suggested reading are provided by member(s) of The Breeder’s Registry staff. Information is presented under the belief that it is accurate. If you have information in addition to, or contrary to that presented you are encouraged to contact the Breeder’s Registry. Permission is granted for “one-time” personal use. Reproduction as distributed or accessible media is prohibited without prior written permission. All rights reserved. 1995


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