RSS Opinion: I love Chromis leucura

MASA Admin

8 May 2007
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I like damselfish. I like Chromis even more. But if there’s one Chromis that I love, it’s Chromis leucura. Chromis leucura is a diminutive species that is often found in small groups along deep reef walls and ledges ranging from 20-120m (65-400ft). This species gets its name for its white tail, which is often tipped with extremely long and wispy filamentous extensions. 

Chromis leucura and two other species that share superficial resemblances. They are Chromis delta and Chromis alleni. Photo credit: Sekainoumi.

C. leucura is variable with a ground coloration of inky-grey to deep navy. The anterior dorsal spines are yellow tinged, and the pelvic fins are entirely chartreuse yellow. A large black spot is present on its pectoral fin base, and this spot is ringed in the same shade of yellow as its other fins. Both dorsal and anal fin termens are near vertical and extremely straight, which gives this species a rather unique appearance.

Its caudal fin is white and both lobes are tipped on the outermost point with two to three variably long and wispy filaments. This characteristic is shared with a few species, all of them attaining sizes no larger than 2.5 inches. The photographic collage above features two other Chromis species that are apparently closely related and sympatric in Japan. These are Chromis delta and C. alleni.

Chromis leucura photographed at 40m (170ft) in Japan. Take note of the extremely long fimanentous extensions on the upper and lower caudal lobes. Photo credit:

An in situ image of Chromis leucura. Photo credit: Hossy.

C. leucura has a patchy and scattered distribution in both Oceans. In the Pacific, it can be found quite regularly in Hawaii, Marquesas and Japan. In the Indian Ocean, this species has been reported in Mauritius and the Réunion Islands. Because of its fondness for deep waters, its very likely that this species has an undocumented larger and more extensive geographical distribution. Case in point, Australia.

Chromis leucura from the Coral Sea, Australia.

This single specimen collected from the Coral Sea by Cairns Marine on the east coast of Australia presents a new range extension for this species. The disjunct distribution between Japan and Australia is likely anomalous, and its presence within the connecting Indonesian and Philippine regions should be looked out for.

Undescribed Chromis from the French Polynesia. Photo credit: Lemon TYK.

The filamentous tail extensions and straight fin termens of C. leucura is recalled in an undescribed species from the French Polynesia. Unlike the more widely distributed C. leucura, this species is strictly deepwater and is not uncommon at depths exceeding 300ft. It is not known if the two are phylogenetically related, but it’s not everyday you encounter a little damsel with pretty fins and a less than bellicose disposition.

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11 Aug 2008
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so, why do you want a blue green chromis when these are around?
23 Jan 2008
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so, why do you want a blue green chromis when these are around?
Exactly... lol, and they look like they have a mischievous character...

Not to put the normal blue/green chromis down, they are cool too..

But these guys have a twist lol.
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