Stegastes nigricans

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Stegastes nigricans
Stegastes nigricans 1.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Pomacentridae
Genus: Stegastes
Species: S. nigricans
Binomial name
Stegastes nigricans
(Lacépède, 1802)

Stegastes nigricans, the dusky farmerfish, is a species of damselfish found around coral reefs at a depth of one to 12 meters.

S. nigricans practices a form of agriculture with a species of red algae. The fish will claim a patch of "brown carpet algae" which it defends by chasing away other fish and sea urchins. The fish also pulls up other bits of algae that attempt to grow in the patch and swims outside of its territory to spit the invading algae out. When the fish claiming a patch is removed, the patch is eaten up within a few days. When a patch of the brown carpet algae is caged to keep both S. nigricans and other fish out of the patch, other species of algae quickly overwhelm the patch. This seems to indicate the brown carpet algae are dependent on S. nigricans for its survival.[1]


  1. ^ Hata, Hiroki; Kato, Makoto (December 22, 2006). "A novel obligate cultivation mutualism between damselfish and Polysiphonia algae". Biology Letters 2 (4): 593–6. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2006.0528. PMC 1833977. PMID 17148297. Retrieved 2007-01-15.