Grey Damsel, Chrysiptera caesifrons Allen, Erdmann & Kurniasih 2015

Other Names: King Damselfish

A Grey Damsel, Chrysiptera caesifrons, at Halmahera, Indonesia. Source: Gerald R. Allen. License: All rights reserved

A pale yellow to whitish damselfish with a dark bluish, blackish to grey region on the snout, upper part of the head and and upper front part of the body and the spinous dorsal fin. 
The Grey Damsel was previously mis-identified as Chrysiptera rex, which occurs on offshore reefs of Western Australia, and is not found on the Great Barrier Reef.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Chrysiptera caesifrons in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Dec 2022,

Grey Damsel, Chrysiptera caesifrons Allen, Erdmann & Kurniasih 2015

More Info


Found throughout the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to Byron Bay, New South Wales. The species occurs elsewhere in the tropical southwest Pacific - West Papua, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and the Solomon Islands. Individuals or small, loose groups inhabit inshore rocky areas including gutters often just below the surge zone.


Dorsal fin XIII, 12-14 (usually 13); Anal fin II, 12–14 (usually 13); Pectoral fin 16–18 (usually 17); Gill rakers on first branchial arch 4–6 + 11–13, total rakers 16–19 (usually 17–18); Lateral-line scales (tubed) 16–18 (usually 17).


Overall pale yellow to whitish with a blue (young fish) or dark bluish-grey (adult fish) region encompassing snout, upper head and adjacent anterodorsal portion of body and spinous dorsal fin; small blackish spot at uppermost rear edge of operculum near origin of lateral line; each scale of suborbital, preopercle, and opercle with small blue spot; each body scale with 1–2 small blue spots, generally darker on anterior half of body; young fish with scattered neon blue spots on dark blue forehead and snout; fins (except dark blue or greyish spinous dorsal) semitranslucent with pale yellow to whitish hue except for pair of submarginal blue stripes on spinous dorsal fin.


The specific name caesifrons meaning "bluish-grey forehead”, is from the Latin caesius for 'blue-grey' and frons for 'forehead' or 'brow', in reference to the distinguishing colour pattern of this species.

Species Citation

Chrysiptera caesifrons Allen, Erdmann & Kurniasih, 2015, J. Ocean Sci. Found. 15: 20, Figs 1–2 & 7a. Type locality: Ayau Kecil Island, Ayau Atoll, Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua Province, Indonesia, 1.5–2.0 m, 00° 21.342’S, 130° 58.648’E. 


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Grey Damsel, Chrysiptera caesifrons Allen, Erdmann & Kurniasih 2015


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. (p. 595, as Chrysiptera species)

Allen, G.R., Erdmann M.V. & Kurniasih, E.M. 2015. Chrysiptera caesifrons, a new species of damselfish (Pomacentridae) from the south-western Pacific Ocean. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 15: 16-32. PDF Open Access

Drew, J.A., Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2010. Congruence between mitochondrial genes and color morphs in a coral reef fish: population variability in the Indo-Pacific damselfish Chrysiptera rex (Snyder, 1909). Coral Reefs 29(2): 439-444. Abstract

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (p. 241, as Chrysiptera rex)

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. (p. 265, as Chrysiptera rex)

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. (p. 265, as Chrysiptera rex)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37372151

Depth:1-8 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:6 cm SL

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