Spiny Puller, Acanthochromis polyacanthus (Bleeker 1855)

Other Names: Spiny Chromis, Spiny-tail Puller, Spotty-tail

A Spiny Puller, Acanthochromis polyacanthus, on Agincourt Reef Reef, outer Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, November 2005. Source: eschlogl / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

This damselfish has a number of colour variants, and ranges from whitish to all brown or dark grey, sometimes with a white tail.

Unlike most damselfishes, the Spiny Puller lacks a pelagic larval stage, and the eggs hatch into small juveniles that are guarded by the parents. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Acanthochromis polyacanthus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Nov 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/311

Spiny Puller, Acanthochromis polyacanthus (Bleeker 1855)

More Info


Cape Leveque to Cape Londonderry, the Kimberley region, Western Australia, Ashmore Reef and Hibernia Reef, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, to Lady Musgrave Reef, Queensland; also reefs in the Coral Sea, and the Lord Howe Island region in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, west Pacific.


Feeds on plankton and algae in the water column, and also steals algae from the farms of Ward's Damselfish (Pomacentrus wardi) and the Dusky Gregory (Stegastes nigricans).


Lacks a pelagic larval stage. Females lay large demersal eggs, and the larvae hatch after 15-17 days (other damselfishes hatch after about 5 days). The larvae are well-developed at hatching and swim and remain in a tight school near the nest site. For several weeks, they are guarded by the parents, and the juveniles gradually disperse to nearby areas on the reef. 


Bray, D.J. 2017

Spiny Puller, Acanthochromis polyacanthus (Bleeker 1855)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37372015

Biology:No pelagic larval stage

Depth:1-65 m

Max Size:14 cm TL

Max Size:Reef associated

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map