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.

Dascyllus trimaculatus
Dascyllus trimaculatus
(three spot damselfish)
Marine Fishes

Copyright Info
Dascyllus trimaculatus (Rüppell, 1829)

Common name: three spot damselfish

Synonyms and Other Names: domino damselfish, threespot damsel

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: The body is the color of charcoal with black scale margins.  Orangish-brown head and breast.  Some specimens have yellow on the caudal, anal, and pelvic fins.  Juveniles have two distinctive white spots; one on the head above the eyes and one positioned dorso-laterally.  Dorsal fin XII (14-16), anal fin II (14-15).  Pectoral rays 19-21. From Randall et al. (1996).

Similar species:  Sunshinefish (Chromis insolata) has yellow, pale or clear rear dorsal and caudal fins.

Size: 13 cm TL

Native Range: East Africa and the Red Sea to the Line Islands and Pitcairn Group; southern Japan to New South Wales and Lord Howe Island.  From Randall et al. (1996) and Randall (2005).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: In Florida, one individual was observed off Boca Raton in 2006 (REEF 2008).

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 Dascyllus trimaculatus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL200620061Florida Southeast Coast

Table last updated 7/17/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Juveniles are sometimes found with sea anemones or venomous long-spined sea urchins in their native habitat.  The species can be found on coral reefs and rocky substrata from depths of one to 55 m.  From Randall (2005) and Randall et al. (1996). They are pelagic feeders consuming mainly zooplankton and detritus (Frédérich et al. 2009; Priyadharsini et al. 2012).

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)

Frédérich, B., G. Fabri, G. Lepoint, P. Vandewalle and E. Parmentier. 2009. Trophic niches of thirteen damselfishes (Pomacentridae) at the Grand Récif of Toliara, Madagascar. Ichthyological Research 56(1):10-17.

Priyadharsini, S., J. Manoharan, D. Varadharajan and A. Subramaniyan. 2012. Interpretation on the food and feeding habits of Dascyllus trimaculatus (Ruppell, 1829) from Gulf of Mannar, South East coast of India. Archives of Applied Science Reserch 4(4):1758-1762.

Randall, J. E.  2005.  Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific.  New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands.  University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu.

Randall, J. E., G. R. Allen and R. C. Steene.  1996.  Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea.  Second Edition.  University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii. 

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF).  2008.  Exotic species sighting program and volunteer database. World wide web electronic publication. www.reef.org, date of download March 10, 2008.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Morris, James A., Jr., and Pamela J. Schofield

Revision Date: 9/15/2020

Peer Review Date: 4/28/2009

Citation Information:
Morris, James A., Jr., and Pamela J. Schofield, 2024, Dascyllus trimaculatus (Rüppell, 1829): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=2763, Revision Date: 9/15/2020, Peer Review Date: 4/28/2009, Access Date: 7/17/2024

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. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/17/2024].

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