Scissortail sergeant Abudefduf sexfasciatus

  • Fringing Reef
  • Fauna
  • Scissortail sergeant
  • Damselfish


The Scissortail sergeant is from the family of damselfishes known as, Pomacentridae. Other common names of this species include Sergeant Major, Six-barred sergeant major and Stripetail damsel. It has 5 black stripes that run vertically across its body, which is mostly white and a broader black longitudinal streak along each of its caudal fin lobes. It can reach up to 22 cm in length[1]. It has a total of 13 dorsal spines; 12 to 16 dorsal soft rays; 2 anal spines and 12 – 14 anal soft rays.  It can be distinguished from other species such as A.bengalensis by the black streaks on its caudal fin lobes[2] and from A.vaigiensis by the lack of yellow on its sides.


[1] ‘Scissortail Sergeant, Abudefduf Sexfasciatus (Lacepède, 1801) - Australian Museum’.

[2] ‘Abudefduf Sexfasciatus’.

Habitat and ecology

This species is native to many parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is also present across the Red Sea to Pinda, in Mozambique, Tuamotu Islands, from North to Southern parts of Japan, South of Lord Howe and Rapa Islands. There are no records from Hawaii. They live in inshore and offshore coral and rocky reefs. They can also be found between 1 to 15 meters water depth, as well as in reef flats or crests where tall soft corals or hydroid colonies are present. The can be observed in large to mid-sized groups and feed on zooplankton and algae.Spawning for this species occurs during the summer months. Females deposit their eggs in a nest site which is guarded  by the males. The eggs usually adhere to the surface of the substrate[1].


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 no known major threats. It is also present in many MPAs (Marine Protected Areas). However, there are concerns for exploitation for aquarium trade.[2]


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

[2] ‘Abudefduf Sexfasciatus (Scissortail Sergeant)’.

Did you know?

This damselfish gained its name due to the stripes on its body which reminds one of the stripes worn by a Sergeant Major.