New Zealand Demoiselle (Chromis dispilus) - Wiki
New Zealand demoiselle
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[Photo] Chromis dispilus (New Zealand demoiselle). Photo by Ian Skipworth
The New Zealand demoiselle, Chromis dispilus, is a damselfish of the genus Chromis, found between North Cape and East Cape of the North Island of New Zealand to depths of about 60 metres, off rocky coasts. Its length is between 15 and 20 cm.
The New Zealand demoiselle is a small schooling fish with a compact body and a deeply forked tail and large pectoral fins. They vary in colour from a uniform grey-green to dark grey to olive green, and sometimes even black. Two small white spots on each side of the back stand out no matter what the body colour is and probably act to confuse predators. The large eyes set forward above the mouth aid in feeding on the planktonic animals which is their main diet. Schools of demoiselle are normally seen near rock pinnacles and underwater cliff faces, where currents bring a steady supply of food.
In November and December males prepare nesting sites on patches of rock with a covering of small red algae. They then change colour to a brilliant deep blue with a prominent white flash on the V of the tail. After the females lay their eggs by January or February the nests are vigorously defended by the males, even chasing away much larger fish and divers. The eggs hatch after only 7 days and the hatchlings settle after only a few weeks as part of the plankton.
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