Taxonomy [Ray Finned Fishes] [Phylum: Chordata] [Class: Actinopterygii] [Family: Pseudochromidae]
The dottyback fish family belongs to the order Perciformes.
Dottybacks inhabit remote tropical and subtropical coral reefs in regions of the Indo-Pacific.
There are an estimated 100 different species and although they are mostly brightly coloured fishes, their coloring displays striking differences between male and females, which is a phenomenon called sexual dimorphism.
Most adult dottybacks range between 2 and 10 centimeters in length.
They are characterized from other similar fish species by their dorsal spines (usually 3 or less) and the fact that their lateral line organ is incomplete.
Dottyback reef fishes are beautifully adorned with vivid pigmentation but they are also known as shy and feisty fish. They are considered to be a tasty meal by larger predator vertebrates.
Dottybacks often mimic less appealing fish to eat like angel in order to avoid capture.
They are clearly frightened by large shadows and strange noises such as those made by scuba divers.
Therefore dottybacks sleep in caves during the night and are rarely seen or photographed in the wild.
The aquarium kept species is much less intimated and friendlier photogenic models. They defend their territory quite fiercely and they feed on zooplankton and benthic invertebrates.