Threespot Humbug, Dascyllus trimaculatus (Rüppell 1829)

Other Names: Threespot Damsels, Threespot Dascyllus, Three-spot Dascyllus, Three-spot Humbug

A Threespot Humbug, Dascyllus trimaculatus, at North Solitary Island, New South Wales. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC BY Attribution

Juveniles are black overall with bluish scale centres, a white blotch on the forehead and another on the upper sides. Adults lack the spot on the head, and the spot on the sides is reduced in size, and they may be much paler when breeding. Some individuals also have yellow caudal, anal and pelvic fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Dascyllus trimaculatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Jul 2020,

Threespot Humbug, Dascyllus trimaculatus (Rüppell 1829)

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Recorded in Australia from the Houtman Abrolhos to Albert Reef, including reefs offshore, Western Australia, and Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to at least Wollongong, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.

Small to large groups of adults usually frequent coral heads and large rocks, while juveniles often shelter among the spines of Diadema sea urchins, large sea anemones or within branching corals.

Species Citation

Pomacentrus trimaculatus Rüppell, 1829, Fische des Rothen Meeres. 2: 39. Type locality: Massaua, Red Sea.


Bray, D.J. 2017

Threespot Humbug, Dascyllus trimaculatus (Rüppell 1829)


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

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. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Res. Bull. 412: 21 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1979. The Fishes of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Aust. Natl. Parks Wldlf. Ser. Spec. Publ. 2. Canberra : Australian Government Publishing Service 81 pp. 15 pls.

Fishelson, L. 1998. Behaviour, socio‐ecology and sexuality in damselfishes (Pomacentridae). Italian Journal of Zoology 65(S1): 387-398 DOI: 10.1080/11250009809386853 Open access

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.

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

Randall, H.A. & G.R. Allen. 1977. A revision of the damselfish genus Dascyllus (Pomacentridae) with description of a new species. Records of the Australian Museum 31(9): 349-385, PDF available, open access

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.

Rüppell, W.P.E. 1829. Atlas zu der Reise im nördlichen Afrika. Fische des Rothen Meeres. 2. Frankfurt : H.L. Brünner 29-94 pls 8-24.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37372075


Depth:1-55 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:11 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map