Sahul Chromis, Chromis sahulensis Allen & Allen 2021

A Sahul Chromis, Chromis sahulensis, in Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia. Source: Alex Hoschke, Fig. 12C, in Allen & Allen (2021) JOSF 38: 96 . License: CC by Attribution

A yellowish brown chromis becoming to greyish-brown on the sides, with a prominent saddle-like white spot near the rear of the dorsal fin extending onto the upper caudal peduncle, and brownish bands edged with white along the upper and lower margins of the caudal fin. 
The Sahul Chromis was previously considered to be a southern population of Chromis fumea, a species found in the northwestern Pacific Ocean (primarily Japan and Taiwan). 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Chromis sahulensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Dec 2023,

Sahul Chromis, Chromis sahulensis Allen & Allen 2021

More Info


Northwestern Australia, from the Shark Bay region, Western Australia, to the vicinity of Evans Shoals, off Melville Island, Northern Territory.
Inhabitats outer slopes of coral reefs and gradually sloping or flat bottoms on trawl grounds, presumably around rocky outcrops, sponges, and sea fans, at depths of about 15–80 m.


Dorsal-fin elements XIII,10– 13 (usually XIII,12); anal-fin elements II,9–11 (usually II,10); pectoral-fin rays 17–20 (usually 18–19); spiniform caudal-fin rays 2; tubed lateral-line scales 17–19 (rarely 17); total gill rakers on first branchial arch 29–34 (usually 31–32); body depth 2.1–2.4 (mean 2.2) in SL.


Adults generally yellowish brown on back, dorsal head, and nape, grading to gray, often with a silvery hue, ventrally; a conspicuous white spot (about one-half pupil size) near base of last dorsal-fin rays, saddle-like, extending onto upper caudal peduncle; iris of eye mainly golden yellow; dorsal fin pale brown, grading to translucent on posteriormost rays with yellowish submarginal band, and a narrow whitish to pale gray outer margin; anal fin dusky greyish, grading to translucent posteriorly with a narrow blue anterior edge; caudal fin translucent with prominent brown bands and narrow blue-white edges along upper and lower margins; pelvic fins translucent whitish with narrow white anterior margin; pectoral fins translucent with a black patch covering outer portion (fin side) of axil, slightly encroaching on dorsal edge of fin base. Juvenile similar to adult, but overall slightly paler. 


The species is named for its geographic range, limited to the Sahul Shelf, the portion of the continental shelf lying off the northwestern coast of Australia. 

Species Citation

Chromis sahulensis Allen & Allen 2021, Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 38: 94, Figs 11-13. Type locality:  Australia, Western Australia, North West Cape, Lighthouse Bay, 21.801°S, 114.121°E, 18 m.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Sahul Chromis, Chromis sahulensis 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.

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. (as Chromis fumea)

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343–398 (as Chromis fumea)

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 (as Chromis fumea)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37372004

Depth:15-80 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:6 cm SL


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