Common name: Sergeant-major
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: Abudefduf vaigiensis is a member of the damselfish family Pomacentridae. It has a forked caudal fin, and the body is colored bluish-green dorsally, shading to silvery white ventrally. The species has five broad black bars on the body, the first just behind the head, the narrow fifth bar on the caudal peduncle (Randall 1995). The dorsal part of body between the first and third bars is most often yellow. During courtship, the male’s body color becomes bluer (Lieske and Myers 2004, Maruske and Peyton 2007).
This species can be distinguished from the native Hawaiian species, A. abdominalis, by the black bars on the body that are about the same width as the pale spaces in between. The black bars on A. abdominalis become narrower and fainter ventrally (Randall 1996).
Size: Maximum size is 170 mm standard length (Allen 1991)
Native Range: This marine species is widespread throughout the Indo-West Pacific from eastern Africa and the Red Sea to Tuamotu and the Line islands, and Australia northward to Japan (Allen 1991).
Abudefduf vaigiensis was first reported in waters surrounding Maui and Oahu, Hawaii in 1991 (Mundy 2005) and is now common throughout all the Hawaiian Islands (Frédérich et al. 2009).
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 Abudefduf vaigiensis are found here.
Table last updated 2/27/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: Abudefduf vaigiensis inhabits a variety of rocky reef habitats to a depth of 12 m (Myers 1999). They are generalist omnivores usually found in schools feeding primarily on pelagic zooplankton, but also occasionally feed on algae and benthic invertebrates (Frédérich et al. 2009, Myers 1999). Abudefduf vaigiensis forms distinct pairs during breeding and lays eggs on a cleared hard surface that both parents guard (Lieske and Myers 2004). Juveniles can often be found in tidepools or under floating mats of seaweed (Lieske and Myers 2004).
Means of Introduction: This species likely arrived in Hawaii rafting amongst marine debris (Coleman et al. 2014).
Status: Established in Hawaii (Mundy 2005, Frédérich et al. 2009)
Impact of Introduction: Abudefduf vaigiensis has been shown to hybridize with the native A. abdominalis in Hawaii (Coleman et al. 2012). Native male A. abdominalis have been observed mating with female A. vaigiensis (Maruska and Peyton 2007). This could potentially threaten the genetic integrity of the native species. Other potential effects of this introduction have not yet been studied.
References: (click for full references)
Allen, G.R. 1991. Damselfishes of the World. Mergus Publishers, Germany.
Coleman, R.R., Gaither, M.R., Kimokeo, B., Stanton, F.G., Bowen, B.W., and Toonen R.J. 2012. Large-scale introduction of the Indo-Pacific dameselfish Abudefduf vaigiensis into Hawai’i promotes genetic swamping of the endemic congener A. abdominalis. Molecular Ecology 23:5552-5565.
Frédérich, B., Fabri, G., Lepont, G., Vanderwalle, P., and Parmentier, E. 2009. Trophic niches of thirteen damselfishes (Pomacentridae) at the Grand Récif of Toliara, Madagascar. Ichthyological Research 56(1):10-17.
Lieske, E. and Myers, R.F. 2004. Coral reef guide: Red Sea to Gulf of Aden, South Oman. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd., London.
Maruska, K.P. and Peyton, K.A. 2007. Interspecific spawning between a recent immigrant and an endemic damselfish (Pisces: Pomacentridae) in the Hawaiian Islands. Pacific Science 61(2):211-222.
Mundy, B.C. 2005. Checklist of the fishes of the Hawaiian archipelago. Bishop Museum Bulletin in Zoology 6. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu.
Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian reef fishes: A field guide for divers and aquarists. Coral Graphics, Guam.
Randall, J.E. 1995. Coastal fishes of Oman. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
Randall, J.E. 1996. Shore fishes of Hawai’i. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
Brown, M.E., and Schofield, P.J.
Revision Date: 5/11/2020
Peer Review Date: 5/9/2020
Brown, M.E., and Schofield, P.J., 2023, Abudefduf vaigiensis (Quoy and Gaimard, 1825): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=3567, Revision Date: 5/11/2020, Peer Review Date: 5/9/2020, Access Date: 6/4/2023
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.