Common name: spiny chromis damselfish
Synonyms and Other Names: Dascyllus polyacanthus Bleeker, 1855 original combination; Heptadecanthus longicaudis Alleyne and Macleay, 1877; Heptadecanthus brevipinnis De Vis, 1885; Heptadecanthus maculosus De Vis, 1885; Abudefduf jordani Seale, 1906; Chromis desmostigma Fowler and Bean, 1928.
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: This is the only species of Acanthochromis. Color varies depending on locality from blueish gray, brown, to white in both monochromatic and bicolored forms. 17 dorsal spines, the most in the family (Randall et al. 1990).
Size: to 14 cm (Randall et al. 1990)
Native Range: Pacific Ocean from Indonesia and Philippines to northeastern Australia and Melanesia (Randall et al. 1990).
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Puerto Rico &
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps
Two specimens were removed from Miami Beach Marina in Florida, in July 2017.
Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Acanthochromis polyacanthus are found here.
Table last updated 5/25/2018
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: Acanthochromis is a small plankton-feeding reef fish with high site fidelity (Thresher 1985). It is the only species of damselfish that lacks a pelagic larval stage with the young remaining under parental care (Doherty et al. 1994, Randall et al. 1990). This species lays small clutches of large eggs (4.5 mm) defended by both parents. The fry remain near the nest for several weeks to months until they disperse into the surrounding habitat at a relatively large size (30-40 mm SL; Kavanagh 2000, Thresher 1985). During brooding juveniles ingest mucus as a food source from the sides of the parents (Kavanagh 2000). Acanthochromis is found at a depth of 1-65 m (Randall et al. 1990).
Means of Introduction: Probable aquarium release.
Status: Reported from Florida.
Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.
References: (click for full references)
Doherty, P.J., P. Mather, and S. Planes. 1994. Acanthochromis polyacanthus
, a fish lacking larval dispersal, has genetically differentiated populations at local and regional scales on the Great Barrier Reef. Marine Biology 121:11-21.
Kavanagh, K.D. 2000. Larval brooding the marine damselfish Acanthochromis polyacanthus (Pomacentridae) is correlated with highly divergent morphology, ontogeny and life-history traits. Bulletin of Marine Science 66(2):321-337.
Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen, and R.C. Steene. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Thresher, R.E. 1985. Distribution, abundance, and reproductive success in the coral reef fish Acanthochromis polyacanthus. Ecology 66(4):1139-1150.
Schofield, P.J., and M.E. Brown
Revision Date: 9/6/2017
Schofield, P.J., and M.E. Brown, 2019, Acanthochromis polyacanthus (Bleeker, 1855): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=3168, Revision Date: 9/6/2017, Access Date: 1/23/2019
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.