/dam"zeuhl fish'/, n., pl. (esp. collectively) damselfish, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) damselfishes.
any of several chiefly tropical, brilliantly colored, marine fishes of the family Pomacentridae, living among coral reefs. Also called demoiselle.
[1900-05; DAMSEL + FISH]

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also called  demoiselle 
 any of about 250 species of small, primarily tropical marine fishes of the family Pomacentridae (order Perciformes) found in the Atlantic and Indo-Pacific oceans. Damselfishes are deep-bodied and usually have forked tails. They resemble the related cichlids and, like them, have a single nostril on each side of the head and have interrupted lateral lines. Damselfishes have two anal spines. Many species are brilliantly coloured, often in shades of red, orange, yellow, or blue; most do not exceed a length of about 15 cm (6 inches).

      Damselfishes are lively and quick, and are usually strongly territorial and aggressive. Some feed mainly on plant matter or small animals suspended in the water; others are omnivorous. Most damselfishes live along reefs, but certain species, the anemone fishes, are noted for living among the stinging tentacles of sea anemones.

      Better-known members of the family include the bright-coloured species of Pomacentrus, the black-and-white, or three-stripe, damselfish (Dascyllus aruanus) of the Indo-Pacific; the garibaldi (Hypsypops rubicundus), a bright orange California fish about 30 cm long; the beau gregory (Eupomacentrus leucostictus), a blue-and-yellow Atlantic species; and the sergeant major (Abudefduf saxatilis), a black-banded, bluish and yellow fish of the tropical Atlantic.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • damselfish — n. small brilliantly colored tropical marine fishes of coral reefs. Syn: demoiselle. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • damselfish — [dam′zəlfish΄] n. pl. damselfish or damselfishes (see FISH) any of a percoid family (Pomacentridae) of small, rough scaled, brightly colored tropical reef fishes …   English World dictionary

  • Damselfish — Cocoa damselfish (Stegastes variabilis). Damselfish[1] comprise the family Pomacentridae except those of the genera Amphiprion and Premnas. They can grow up to 14 inches (36 cm) long. While most are marine, a few species inhabit the lowe …   Wikipedia

  • damselfish — /ˈdæmzəlfɪʃ/ (say damzuhlfish) noun (plural damselfish or damselfishes) any small tropical fish of the family Pomacentridae, with a brightly coloured, laterally compressed body. Usage: For variation in the plural inflection, see note at fish1 …   Australian English dictionary

  • damselfish — noun Date: 1904 any of numerous often brilliantly colored marine fishes (family Pomacentridae) living especially along coral reefs called also demoiselle …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • damselfish — noun Any of a number of fish in the Pomacentridae taxonomic family …   Wiktionary

  • damselfish — n. tropical colored ocean fish …   English contemporary dictionary

  • damselfish — noun (plural same or damselfishes) a small brightly coloured tropical fish living near coral reefs. [Chromis chromis and other species.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • damselfish — dam•sel•fish [[t]ˈdæm zəlˌfɪʃ[/t]] n. pl. (esp. collectively) fish, (esp. for kinds or species) fish•es. ich any of several brilliantly colored coral reef fishes of the family Pomacentridae Also called demoiselle • Etymology: 1900–05 …   From formal English to slang

  • damselfish —    Ā ( a ā), mokumoku hā nui (hānui), ālo ilo i (lo ilo i).   Cf. ala ihi …   English-Hawaiian dictionary

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