The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Chromis limbata
Chromis limbata
(Azores chromis)
Marine Fishes

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Chromis limbata (Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1830)

Common name: Azores chromis

Synonyms and Other Names: Heliazes marginatus Valenciennes, 1843; Heliases limbatus Valenciennes, 1833 

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: The Azores chromis is deep-bodied with a large eye and a strongly forked caudal fin.  In females and non-breeding males the body is golden brown with paired fins that are typically orange.  Breeding males have a blue to purple body and an almost white belly.  The posterior edge of each scale is darker and there is a dark blotch where the pectoral fin meets the body. From Wood (1977).

Size: Maximum total length 14 cm, common to 12 cm (Allen 1991; Carpenter and De Angelis 2016).

Native Range: Eastern Atlantic Ocean from Portugal southward to the Gulf of Guinea may also reach Angola in southwest Africa (Loris and Rucabado 1990).  Also reported along West Africa from Senegal and Point Noire, Republic of the Congo (Wood 1977).  Common near the Azores, Canary Islands, and island of Madeira.

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: This species has been collected in several locations in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean off Brazil since 2008.  Including several islands off the east coast of Florianópolis, State of Santa Catarina, (Leite et al. 2009, Anderson et al. 2017), the shipwreck of Laje de Santos, State of Sao Paulo, and rocky reef habitat off the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (Adelir-Alves et al. 2018).

Ecology: Chromis species live in shallow water (3-50 meters), rely on rocky terrain for breeding as a substrate for eggs to attach, and larvae have short planktonic life of 18-19 days (Anderson et al. 2017, Wood 1977).  Chromis limbata feeds on plankton (Tuya et al. 2004).

Means of Introduction: Aquarium release is unlikely due to the low interest for aquarists and lack of availability of the species in Brazil (Anderson et al. 2017).  Other more likely pathways include rafting (“hitch-hiking”) along towed oil rigs between Africa and Brazil (Anderson et al. 2017) or dispersal of larvae and adults by rafting with algae or debris across the Atlantic Ocean (Anderson et al. 2017, Leite et al 2009).  

Status: Established in Brazil.

Impact of Introduction: It has been suggested that competition for territory and aggressive behavior during breeding could impact native species. Furthermore, Anderson et al. (2017) predicted that C. limbata would eventually become more abundant than the native C. multilineata and may continue to spread further south into Uruguay and Argentina.

References: (click for full references)

Adelier-Alves, J., Soeth, M., Braga, R.R., and Spach, H.L. 2018. Non-native reef fishes in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean: a recent record of Heniochus acuminatus (Linnaeus, 1758) (Perciformes, Chaetodontidae) and biological aspects of Chromis limbata (Valenciennes, 1833) (Perciformes, Pomacentridae). Check List 14(2): 379-385.

Allen, G.R. 1991. Damselfishes of the World. Mergus, Melle, Germany. 271 p.
Anderson, A.B., Salas, E.M., Rocha, L.A., and Floeter, S.R. 2017. The recent colonization of south Brazil by the Azores chromis Chromis limbata. Journal of Fish Biology 91(2):558-573.

Anderson, A.B., Salas, E.M., Rocha, L.A., and Floeter, S.R. 2017. The recent colonization of south Brazil by the Azores chromis Chromis limbata. Journal of Fish Biology 91(2):558-573.

Carpenter, K.E. and De Angelis, N. eds. 2016. The living marine resources of the Eastern Central Atlantic. Volume 4: Bony fishes part 2 (Perciformes to Tetradontiformes) and Sea turtles. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes, Rome, FAO. Pp. 2343-3124.

Leite, J.R., Bertoncini, A.A., Bueno, L., Daros, F., Alves, J., and Hostim-Silva, M. 2009. The occurrence of Azores chromis, Chromis limbata in the south-western Atlantic. Marine Biodiversity Records 2, 3. doi:http://dx.doi.org.lp.hscl.ufl.edu/10.1017/S1755267209990637

Loris, D. and Rucabado, J. 1990. Pomacentridae. p. 842-850. In Quero, J.C., Hureau, J.C., Karrer, C., Post, A., and Saldanha, L. (eds.). Checklist of the fishes of the eastern Atlantic (CLOFETA). UNESCO, Paris. Vol 2.

Tuya, F., Boyra, A. Sanchez-Jeres, P., Barbera, C. and Haroun, R.J. 2004. Relationships between rocky-reef fish assemblages, the sea urchin Diadema antillarum and macroalgae throughout the Canarian Archipelago. Marine Ecology Progress Series 278:157-169.

Wood, E.M. 1977. A review of damsel fishes (Pises: Pomacentridae) of the genus Chromis from the central and eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Journal of Fish Biology 10:331-345.

Other Resources:

Author: Mary E. Brown and Pamela J. Schofield

Revision Date: 9/8/2020

Peer Review Date: 5/24/2018

Citation Information:
Mary E. Brown and Pamela J. Schofield, 2021, Chromis limbata (Cuvier in Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1830): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=3236, Revision Date: 9/8/2020, Peer Review Date: 5/24/2018, Access Date: 9/23/2021

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.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2021]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [9/23/2021].

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