Giant Damselfish
Castanuela, Jaqueta Gigante
(Microspathodon dorsalis)

Giant Damselfish, Microspathodon dorsalis: The Giant Damselfish is characterized by its size and by its trailing, filamentous dorsal and anal fins.

The edges of its major fins may also be white-rimmed. Juvenile Giant Damselfish have less developed fins and can vary in color from blue (with color generated by small bright blot spots on each scale) to yellow, and various mixtures.

This fish species is similar in appearance to the Acapulco Major, Stegastes acapulcoensis, the Bumphead Damselfish, Microspathodon bairdii, the Cortez Damselfish, Stegastes rectifraenum, and the Oval Damselfish, Chromis alta, but all of the above lack the trailing ventrical fins.

These fish are normally found around large boulders just beyond the surge zone within the first 75 feet of the water column. The Giant Damselfish is very aggressive when feeding habits and defending its territory. We have a fish in our possession that measures 37.8 cm (14.9 inches) which extends the known maximum of this species from 31.0 cm (12.2 inches).

Distribution in Mexico fishing areas

In Mexico, the Giant Damselfish is found on both sides of the southern portion of the Baja California peninsula, on the mainland south of Mazatlan, and around all oceanic islands except Clipperton.

The Giant Damselfish is a member of the Pomacentridae or Damselfish Family of small, very colorful reef fishes.

Giant Damselfish picture.

Giant Damselfish, Microspathodon dorsalis: Adult. Provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, Mexico, in May 2011. Size 26 cm (10 inches). Photo courtesy of John Snow.

Giant Damselfish picture 1

Giant Damselfish picture 2

Giant Damselfish, Microspathodon dorsalis: A juvenile collected from a tidal pool at low tide, in 74-degree water, in January 2004, 8 kilometers north of La Playita, San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur, Mexico, on the East Cape road. When caught, this Giant Damselfish was blue on top and yellow on the bottom, but the color fading rapidly. Size approximately 3 inches. The first picture was taken immediately on location. The second picture was taken a few hours later. Fish catch by Dr. Mike Browning, Denver. Identification courtesy Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Institute, Panama. Description and photo courtesy John Snow.

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