Cocoa Damselfish

Stegastes variabilis

Maximum Size:

5 in (12 cm)


Up to 15 years.

Typical depth:

3–100 ft (1–30 m)


Like numerous other species of damselfish, cocoa damselfish tend small gardens of algae. Males use their garden to attract a mate, who will lay her eggs in the male’s territory. He will defend them aggressively until they hatch. This species is found throughout the Caribbean, from Brazil to northern Florida. They feed on algae, sponges and anemones.


Grouper and jacks.

Did you know?

This species is very aggressive toward other reef creatures, as well as divers and snorkelers. They will attempt to chase and bite any intruder that strays into their territory, no matter how large.