Norfolk Chromis, Chromis norfolkensis Allen & Allen 2021

Other Names: Fawn Chromis, Smokey Chromis, Smokey Puller, Yellow Demoiselle

A Norfolk Chromis, Chromis norfolkensis, at Kingston, Norfolk Island, in the Tasman Sea, September 2020. Source: Susan Prior / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale to dark brown or yellowish-brown chromis, becoming silvery-white below (sometimes abruptly), with a black spot in the pectoral-fin axil, a small white spot at the rear base of the dorsal fin, and a dark brown to black streak along the upper and lower caudal-fin lobes.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Chromis norfolkensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Dec 2023,

Norfolk Chromis, Chromis norfolkensis Allen & Allen 2021

More Info


Central New South Wales, with juveniles south to Montague Island (and possibly the northern Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea); also Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical and temperate east-Indo-west Pacific, including northern New Zealand, New Caledonia, and the Chesterfield Islands.
Typically inhabits outer reef slopes around boulders or occasionally on coral patch reefs at depths of about 5–40 m. 


Dorsal fin XIII-XIV,12-13 (usually XIII, 12); Anal fin II,10-11 (usually II, 10); Pectoral fin 18-20 (usually 19); Pelvic fin I,5; Caudal fin principal rays 15, spiniform caudal-fin rays 2; Gill rakers 8–10 + 21–25= 30–34 (usually 31-33); Lateral-line tubed scales 17-19; Scales in longitudinal series 27; Scales above lateral line to origin of dorsal fin 2.5; Scales above lateral line to base of middle dorsal-fin spine 1.5; Scales below lateral line to origin of anal fin 8.5; Posterior midlateral scales with a pore or deep pit (in continuous series) 7 (6–8); Pseudobranchs 16; Branchiostegal rays 6; Supraneural (predorsal) bones 3; Vertebrae 11+15.

Body moderately deep and ovate, depth 2.0-2.4 in SL. Opercle ending posteriorly in a flat spine, tip relatively obtuse and obscured by a large scale; margin of preopercle with about 20 (20-41) tiny serrae, posterior margin extending dorsally to level of upper edge of pupil, ventral margin extending anteriorly to level of middle of pupil; lower margin of suborbital hidden by scales. 
Dorsal- and anal-fin soft rays branched, except first dorsal-fin ray usually unbranched, and first anal-fin ray occasionally unbranched, last rays branched to base; pectoral fin uppermost and lowermost pairs unbranched; caudal fin uppermost and lowermost unbranched; spiniform caudal-fin rays followed by two accessory segmented rays.
Scales finely ctenoid; tubed lateral-line scales ending beneath base of first two soft rays of dorsal fin; head scaled except lips, tip of snout, and a narrow zone from front of orbit to edge of snout containing nostril; a scaly sheath at base of dorsal and anal fins.


Adult dark to light brown or yellowish on upper half and white on lower half, transition between two halves more or less abrupt with slightly diagonal demarcation extending from lower rear corner of eye to conspicuous small, rounded, white spot, half pupil size or less, at base of last dorsal-fin rays; dorsal fin brown grading to nearly black distally, darkest on outer two-thirds of anterior half of soft portion of fin, remainder of fin plain translucent and outer margin of entire dorsal fin narrowly pale blue to bluish white; anal and pelvic fins white with narrow, bluish, anterior margin; caudal fin translucent whitish to bluish with broad black bands along upper and lower margins with a narrow blue-white edge; pectoral fins translucent with a black patch covering outer portion (fin side) of axil, slightly encroaching on dorsal edge of fin base. 


Feeds on plankton in the water column.


The Smoky Puller is a demersal spawner and pairs build nests on open reef surfaces during the breeding season. The demersal eggs are spawned onto these surfaces and the pelagic larvae hatch after three days.


The Norfolk Chromis was previously considered to be a southern population of Chromis fumea, a species found in the northwestern Pacific Ocean (primarily Japan and Taiwan). 


The species is named for the type locality, Norfolk Island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

Species Citation

Chromis norfolkensis Allen & Allen 2021, Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 38: 88, Figs 8-10. Type locality:  Australia, Norfolk Island, Duncombe Bay, 28.999°S, 167.929°E, 18 m.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Norfolk Chromis, Chromis norfolkensis Allen & Allen 2021


Allen, G.R. 1976. Two new species of damselfishes (Pomacentridae) from Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 4(2): 133-144 figs 1-2 (as Chromis fumea)

Allen, G.R. 1991. Damselfishes of the World. Melle, Germany : Mergus Verlag 271 pp. (in part as Chromis fumea)

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. (as Chromis fumea)

Allen, G.R. 2001. Family Pomacentridae. pp. 3381-4218 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. (in part as Chromis fumea

Allen, G.R. & Allen, M.G. 2021. Two new species of Chromis (Teleostei: Pomacentridae) from northwestern Australia and the southwestern Pacific Ocean, previously part of C. fumea (Tanaka, 1917). Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 38: 78–103.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 (as Chromis fumea)

Francis, M.P. 2019. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Version: 2019.2 figshare. Collection.
 (as Chromis fumea)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (as Chromis fumea, image is C. fumea from Japan)

Kuiter, R. & Kuiter, S. 2018. Coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 pp. (as Chromis fumea)

Stewart, A.L., Roberts, C.D. & Struthers, C.D. 2015. Family Pomacentridae. pp. 1406-1423 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748. (as Chromis fumea)

Wantiez, L. & Thollot, P. 2000. Settlement, post-settlement mortality and growth of the damselfish Chromis fumea (Pisces: Pomacentridae) on two artificial reefs in New Caledonia (south-west Pacific ocean). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK 80: 1111-1118. (as Chromis fumea)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37372161

Depth:5-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:8.3 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map