Indo-Pacific sergeantAbudefduf vaigiensis

  • Fringing Reef
  • Fauna
  • False eye sergeant
  • Damselfish


The Indo-Pacific sergeant is from the family of damselfishes known as, Pomacentridae. Other common names of this species include Five-banded Sergeant Major and Sergeant Major. This species has a white/silver body with 5 vertical black stripes. A yellow gradient is seen on the dorsal part on each side, a distinguishing feature from the Scissortail sergeant[1]. It also lacks the black streaks on its caudal fin. It can grow up to 20 cm in length[2]. This species possesses 13 dorsal spines; 11 to 14 dorsal soft rays; 2 anal spines and 11 to 13 anal soft rays[3].


[1] ‘Abudefduf Vaigiensis’.

[2] ‘Indo-Pacific Sergeant, Abudefduf Vaigiensis (Quoy & Gaimard, 1825) - Australian Museum’.

[3] ‘Indo-Pacific Sergeant - Abudefduf Vaigiensis - Details - Encyclopedia of Life’.

Habitat and ecology

This species is common in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is also present across the Red Sea and Eastern Africa, Tuamotu Islands, from North to Southern parts of Japan, South of Australia. It coexists with the endemic species from Hawaii, A.abdominalis in Hawaiian waters.

These fish inhabit the upper edge of outer reef slopes and inshore rocky reefs at depths of 1 – 15m. However, juveniles are mostly found with drifting seaweed. Diet consists of zooplankton, algae found on the sea floor and small invertebrates. Abudefduf vaigiensis can be found in aggregations of large sizes at spawning sites.

Spawning coincides with large tides which favours the dispersal of larvae over a large range. 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.


Conservation and management

According to the IUCN Red List, this species is listed under the ‘Least Concern’ category. It is common in the Indo-Pacific region with a stable population trend. It is also present in many MPAs (Marine Protected Areas). Although, there are concerns for exploitation from the aquarium trade and individuals being trapped as bycatch[1]. It is also fished in subsistence fisheries. Anthropogenic activities have been listed as threats, these include; coastal development and dredging, which alter sedimentation and water flow.


[1] ‘Abudefduf Vaigiensis’.

Did you know?

This species of damselfish has recently colonised the Hawaiian Islands; juveniles have drifted to these islands amongst abandoned fishing nets and marine debris.