Ambon Damsel (species: Pomacentrus amboinensis) in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Pomacentrus amboinensis
Ambon Damsel

©Andy Lewis: An adult female Ambon Damsel

©Rick Stuart-Smith: Pomacentrus amboinensis, Lizard Island area.

©Andy Lewis: An adult male Ambon Damsel in breeding colouration.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Pomacentridae
Genus Pomacentrus
Species Pomacentrus amboinensis



Distinguishing features

A small yellow-beige damselfish with a distinct ocellus on the rear of the dorsal fin, except in the largest sizes. Similar to Pomacentrus moluccensis, but the latter lacks an ocellus and the body colour is a deeper yellow. Distinguish also based on preferred habitat type.


  • Up to 10 cm (Standard length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Reef borders with sandy margins, in both shallow lagoonal and backreef areas as well as exposed reef fronts.

Found in most locations around the Island.


The Ambon Damsel is common at Lizard Island, and is often the dominant small damselfish in the lagoonal areas where reef and sand habitat adjoin. Once onto the reef proper, the Ambon Damsel is replaced by the Lemon Damsel. This species is an omnivore, taking both plankton and algae. It has been widely used as a study animal in reef fish ecology research on the GBR, especially in the area of reproduction, larval dispersal, and recruitment.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Streit, R.P. and D.R. Bellwood (2017). High prevalence of homing behaviour among juvenile coral-reef fishes and the role of body size, Coral Reefs, 36(4): 1083-1095. LIRS catalog number 2091.

Other references

  • Couturier, C.S., J.A.W. Stecyk, J.L. Rummer, P.L. Munday and G.E. Nilsson (2013). Species-specific effects of near-future CO2 on the respiratory performance of two tropical prey fish and their predator. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part A, 166: 482-489. LIRS catalog number 1721.
  • Gagliano, M., W.C. Dunlap, R. de Nys and M. Depczynski (2009). Ockham's razor gone blunt: coenzymeQ adaptation and redox balance in tropical reef fishes. Biology Letters, 5: 360-363. LIRS catalog number 1627.
  • View all references