Abudefduf saxatilis

Sergeant major | Pilotfish | Píntano | Five Finger
Abudefduf saxatilis
Abudefduf saxatilis, Bonaire, Photo: Rick Stuart-Smith
Abudefduf saxatilis
Abudefduf saxatilis, Bocas del Toro, Panama, Photo: Rick Stuart-Smith
Abudefduf saxatilis
Abudefduf saxatilis, Abrolhos, Bahia, Brazil, Photo: Graham Edgar
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Abudefduf saxatilis
Abudefduf saxatilis
Abudefduf saxatilis


Tropical Atlantic/Caribbean


Silver-grey body with a yellow-green back, 4-5 black bars on side and 1-2 black bars on tail base. Adults form large feeding aggregations of hundreds of individuals, which swim above the reef feeding on algae. Juveniles sometimes act as cleaners to Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas). This species is strictly an Atlantic Ocean species, it is replaced by very similar Abudefduf saxatilis (Sergeant Major) in the Indo-pacific region.


Max Size: 23 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 22.3-30.9°C

Depth: 0-20m

Habitat Generalization Index: 24.77

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Not Evaluated

Occurrence: Common (25.8% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Many (17 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: Joe Shields