Gulf Damsel, Pristotis obtusirostris (Günther 1862)

Other Names: Green Puller, Jerdon's Damsel-fish, Roaming Damsel

A Gulf Damsel, Pristotis obtusirostris, in Chowder Bay, Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, 23 April 2016. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A relatively slender pale greyish to bluish damselfish, becoming pale below, with a bluish-black spot on the upper pectoral-fin base, and usually a yellowish tinge on the dorsal, anal and caudal fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Pristotis obtusirostris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Nov 2022,

Gulf Damsel, Pristotis obtusirostris (Günther 1862)

More Info


Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, around the tropical north to Jervis Bay, New South Wales; also the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Red Sea and Indo-west Pacific: Red Sea and Persian Gulf east to Philippines and New Guinea, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to Australia and New Caledonia.
Inhabits sandy and rubble areas around lagoon patch reefs, often swimming in groups above open sandy substrates at depths to 80 m. Juveniles may occur in shallow estuaries.


Dorsal fin XIII, 12-13; Anal fin II, 12-14; Pectoral fin 17-18; Gill rakers 26-28; Lateral line 19–20 scales, ending at level of 7th soft dorsal-fin ray. 
Body depth 2.5–2.8 in SL; teeth in jaws uniserial; hind margin of preopercle and subopercle serrate; upper and lower edge of caudal-fin base without projecting spiniform procurrent rays.


Max length 14.0 cm TL.


Inhabits trawl grounds, and sometimes taken as bycatch in bottom trawls.


The specific name obtusirostris is from the Latin obtusus (= blunt) and rostris (= snout), in reference to the snout being “much shorter than the diameter of the orbit.”      

Species Citation

Pomacentrus obtusirostris Günther 1862, Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum Vol. 4: 24. No type locality stated.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Gulf Damsel, Pristotis obtusirostris (Günther 1862)


Allen, G.R. 1975. Damselfishes of the South Seas. New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 237 pp. 251 figs. (as Pristotis jerdoni)

Allen, G.R. 1991. Damselfishes of the World. Melle, Germany : Mergus Verlag 271 pp. 

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

Allen, G. R. 2001. Family Pomacentridae. pp. 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. 3381-4218. 

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Blaber, S.J.M., Brewer, D.T. & Harris, A.N. 1994. Distribution, biomass and community structure of demersal fishes of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45(3): 375-396.

Brandl, S.J. & Bellwood, D.R. 2014. Pair-formation in coral reef fishes: an ecological perspective. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 52: 1-80.

Fowler, A.M., Parkinson, K. & Booth, D.J. 2018. New poleward observations of 30 tropical reef fishes in temperate southeastern Australia. Marine Biodiversity 48: 2249-2254

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp. 

Günther, A. 1862. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the Acanthopterygii Pharyngognathi and Anacanthini in the collection of the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 4 534 pp. See ref at BHL

Hutchins, J.B. 1997. Checklist of fishes of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. pp. 239-253 in Wells, F. (ed.) The Marine Fauna and Flora of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia. Smithfield : Gary Allen, 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 2. Fusiliers - Dragonets, Caesionidae - Callionymidae. Seaford, Australia : Zoonetics.

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 3. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 6(1): 1-138 pls 1-2 (described as Pomacentrus dolii, type locality Port Jackson, New South Wales) See ref at BHL

McCulloch, A.R. 1921. Notes and illustrations of Queensland fishes. No. 2. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 7(3): 164-178 pls 8-11 (described as Daya jerdoni fusca, type locality southern Queensland) See ref at BHL

Ogilby, J.D. 1922. Three new Queensland fishes. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 7(4): 301-304 fig. 19 (described as Chromis virescens, type locality Hervey Bay, southern Queensland) See ref at BHL

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. (as Pristotis jerdoni)

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. (as Pristotis jerdoni)

Speare, P., Cappo, M., Rees, M., Brownlie, J. & Oxley, W. 2004. Deep water fish and benthic surveys in the Lord Howe Island Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters): February 2004. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Sciences. 30 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37372001

Depth:0-104 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:14 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map