Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa) known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Madagascar Damselfish is a previously unknown species that was collected from Nosy Faho, Madagascar.

In December of 2018, four Pomacentrus vatosoa specimens were harvested from a reef off the northeastern coast of Madagascar, by divers working in the area at a relatively accessible depth of 45 to 60 feet.

Corazon’s Damselfish were encountered alone and in pairs among corals, crevices, and caves in coral rich areas of sheltered reefs and clear water lagoons of their range, at depths between 40 to over 65 feet.

Like Pomacentrus atriaxillaris, they are believed to be a non migratory, reef dependent species, that forage on microalgae and small planktonic invertebrates during the daylight hours and shelter among the nooks, crevices, and coral branches at night to protect themselves from predation.

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish have a striking pearlescent white body color with a large black spot behind the pectoral fin at the middle of the body and a similiarly sized black saddle across the upper edge of the caudal peduncle, and a recurved black band that runs through the eyes and extends upward to the light gray dorsal fin which is edged in an electric royal blue color.   The black stripe that runs through the eyes of the Madagascar Damselfish is common to butterfly fishes, but exceptionally rare in damselfishes.

The overall pattern of Corazon’s Damselfish markings resemble those of Stark’s damselfish (Chrysiptera starki) which lives in the reefs of the far distant Coral Sea, however, after examination of its genetics and morphology, systematic ichthyologists Mr. Frable and Mr. Tea concluded that the fish is a new species in the damselfish genus Pomacentrus, not Chrysiptera, as originally suspected.

The new species Pomacentrus vatosoa now appears to be most closely related to Pomacentrus atriaxillaris.

Although there are no reports available for this species being kept in captivity, Corazon’s Damselfish should be housed in a mature FOWLR or reef aquarium of at least 55 gallon capacity with a sand or fine gravel substrate and plenty of live rock arranged into crevices, caves, and overhangs for them to hide among.

Corazon’s Damselfish are believed to be reef safe and should not disturb corals or invertebrates in a reef tank.   Like other damselfish in their genus, individuals can occasionally become territorial towards their own kind or similar sized fish but they will generally ignore invertebrates, corals, and other fish in a peaceful species reef tank. Until more is know about them, consider Pomacentrus vatosoa Reef Safe with Caution.

Although nothing is yet known about breeding Corazon’s Damselfish, characteristics for the family suggests that this species is oviparous, with distinct pairing during breeding.   After a brief courtship ritual, the female will lay her small adhesive eggs on a cleaned substrate.   After fertilizing the demersal eggs, the male guards and aerates them until the larvae hatch out.   The tiny fry in their larval stage will drift with the current as plankton feeding on zooplankton and phytoplankton before settling to the bottom as partially developed damselfish.

In their natural environment, Corazon’s Damselfish are omnivores that feed on microalgae and small planktonic invertebrates.   In an aquarium environment, they should be offered a variety of vegetable and meaty items such as live, frozen, or freeze dried brine shrimp, Amphipods, Copepods, Invertebrates, Mysis, Zooplankton, finely chopped clams, fresh fish, and Spirulina flakes. Feeding a varied diet several times a day is recommended.

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa) are not yet available to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts however, with their current scarcity and long transport distances you can expect them to retail in the price range of $200.00 to $250.00.

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)

Corazon’s Damselfish (Pomacentrus vatosoa)






Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Aquarium Type: Reef or FOLR
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Semi Aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 78-80.5°F, dKH 8 to 12 , pH 8.1 – 8.4, sg 1.020-1.025
Max size: 2¾”
Color Form: White, Black, Blue
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Reef OK
Origin: Western Indian Ocean, Madagascar
Family: Pomacentrus
Lifespan: Unknown
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner


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