Sergeant major (fish)
|Sergeant fish near Paraty, Brazil|
The sergeant major or píntano (Abudefduf saxatilis, family Pomacentridae) is a large, colourful damselfish. It earns its name from its brightly striped sides, which are reminiscent of the insignia of a military sergeant major. It grows to a length of about 15 cm (6 in).
The fish feed upon the larvae of invertebrates, zooplankton, smaller fish, crustaceans, and various species of algae. They are preyed upon by some members of the Labridae and Serranidae families. They lay their eggs in patches on a firm substrate and guard them vigorously until they hatch. The males will turn a sky blue during this period.
Sergeant majors are found throughout the tropical reaches of the Atlantic, including off the south coast of the United States, Central America, eastern South America, including the island Bonaire and western Africa. They are often found on coral reefs at depths between one and 12 meters.
They are popular aquarium fish, although their aggressively territorial nature can pose problems if not closely watched.
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