False eye sergeantAbudefduf sparoides

  • Fringing Reef
  • Fauna
  • False eye sergeant
  • Damselfish


The False eye sergeant is from the family of damselfishes known as, Pomacentridae. Another common name for this species is the False eye damsel. It has an oval shaped body and its distinguishing features are a black patch on the middle of the caudal peduncle (tapered region of the body where the tail fin is attached) and the fact that it has no vertical stripe. The body is of an overall silvery colour  with a blue-green tint. They can grow up to 16 cm in length. This species has a total of 13 dorsal spines; 12 to 14 dorsal soft rays; 12 to 14 anal spines and 11 to 12 anal soft rays[1].


[1] ‘False-Eye Sergeant - Abudefduf Sparoides - Overview - Encyclopedia of Life’.

Habitat and ecology

This species is native to the Western Indian Ocean. It is present from Kenya to Natal, South Africa and also offshore at Aldabra, Madagascar, Reunion and Mauritius islands.  Adult individuals live in coral and rocky reefs that have some wave action while juveniles are mostly found in shallow waters such as lagoons and flat bottom areas. They can be found from 0 to 15 m water depth and feed mainly on algae, crustaceans and small invertebrates. They can be solitary but are usually seen in loose gatherings.

Courtship ritual before mating is usual and females deposit their eggs in a nest site guarded  by the males; the latter also aerate the eggs. The eggs usually adhere to the surface of the substrate[1]. Breeding seasons however, have not been documented.


Conservation and management

According to the IUCN Red List, this species is listed under the ‘Least Concern’ category. It is common in the South Western Indian Ocean with no known major threats at present. It is also present in many MPAs (Marine Protected Areas). Although, it is often trapped as by-catch.[2]


[1] ‘Abudefduf Sexfasciatus, Scissortail Sergeant : Fisheries, Aquarium’.

[2] ‘Abudefduf Sparoides’.

Did you know?

It is the only sergeant fish with no vertical stripes.