Starck's damsel, Chrysiptera starcki


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Matt Clarke takes a look at a reef fish which isn't commonly traded, but is worth looking out for.

Common name: Starck’s damsel.
Scientific name: Chrysiptera starcki (Allen, 1973).
Origin: This fish is found around the equator, north to the Ryukyu Islands and Taiwan and south to Queensland and New Caledonia. An apparently separate population has also been reported from Tonga.
Size: Around 7cm/2.5”.
Unfussy and accepts frozen brineshrimp and Mysis.

Aquarium: Starck’s damsel is found on coral reefs, rocky outcrops and in crevices and sandy channels on outer reef slopes at depths of 20-60m/66-200’.

Unlike similar blue damsels, this is relatively laid back when small. However, unless you’ve got a big tank, you’ll probably only want to add a single specimen as it can be intolerant of its own kind, similar-looking species or anything that swims into its patch.

Notes: A population has been reported from Tonga which is separated from the rest of the population. Recent genetic barcoding studies on populations of starcki from Tonga and from fishes from Philippines reefs have suggested that the two markedly differ.

Availability: Although they’ve been offered in the shops for at least a decade, these are still not commonly traded and are more expensive than most damsels, probably because they tend to occur mainly in deeper waters, which makes collection more difficult.
Price: On sale at £33 each at Real Reefs in Gloucestershire.

This item first appeared in the September 2010 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.