Damselfishes, demoiselle or anemonefishes are members of the Pomacentridae family. They are found in all tropical seas, mainly the Indo-Pacific oceans. They are one of the most numerous groups occurring on tropical reefs, in terms of both number of species and number of individuals. They are extremely variable in color with many species exhibiting shades of brown, black, blue, green, red, and yellow; a dark spot or ocellus often present on dorsal fin, particularly in juvenile stages. They are recognized by having a single dorsal fin with 7 to 17 stout spines and 9 to 21 soft rays. Their anal fin are with 2 spines and 9 to 16 soft rays. Most species do not exceed a length of about 15 cm.

Damselfishes inhabit coral and rocky reefs, but also common in other shallow-water habitats. They are lively and quick, and are usually strongly territorial and aggressive. Their feeding habits are variable. The larger species tend to feed mainly on algae, many others are omnivorous, consuming algae and small invertebrates, while others rely on planktonic items. They are rarely caught for food. The primary fishery value of damselfishes is through the ornamental marine aquarium trade.

There are 29 genera and about 385 species of pomacentrids worldwide. About 78 species are found in Malaysia waters.


Scientific Name: Abudefduf bengalensis  (Bloch, 1787)
English Name: Bengal Sergeant
Local Malay Name: Ikan Gombing, Bombin, Kepal Batu, Gombing Benggala
Main Diagnostic Features: Recognized by the rounded tail and narrow bands.
Size: Maximum total length about 17 cm.

Bengal Sergeant, Ikan Gombing Benggala

Scientific Name: Abudefduf vaigiensis  (Quoy & Gaimard, 1825)
English Name: Indo-Pacific Sergeant, Sergeant Major
Local Malay Name: Ikan Gombing, Bombin, Gombing Jalur Lima
Main Diagnostic Features: Recognized by the 5 dark bands.
Size: Maximum total length about 20 cm.

Common Name: Green Puller, Green Chromis
Scientific Name: Chromis cinerascens  (Cuvier, 1830)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Gombing, Gombing Puyu Hijau
Main Diagnostic Features: Body and fin silvery grey with small black spot on axilla.
Size: Maximum total length about 13 cm.