Animal Species:Headband Humbug, Dascyllus reticulatus (Richardson, 1846)

The Headband Humbug is coral reef dweller that occurs widely throughout the Indo-Pacific. It is commonly referred to as the Reticulated Dascyllus.

Standard Common Name

Headband Humbug

Alternative Name/s

Reticulated Dascyllus, Reticulated Humbug


The Headband Humbug has a white or tan body usually with a dark bar crossing the body at the pectoral fin base. There is a second, less distinct bar at the rear of the body. The dorsal, anal and caudal fins are dark.

Size range

The species grows to 9 cm in length.


The species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-Pacific, from the Cocos-Keeling Islands, throughout South-east Asia and Micronesia, north to Japan, south to Australia and east to the Pitcairn Islands. In Australia it is known from the north-western coast of Western Australia and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland south to northern New South Wales and Lord Howe Island.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Dascyllus reticulatus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Headband Humbug specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?


The Headband Humbug inhabits seaward reefs and lagoons, often associated with branching corals, particularly Pocillopora eydouxi. It is usually seen in small schools, and can be one of the most common damselfishes on coral reefs. It is found in depths from 1 m to 50 m.

Feeding and Diet

The species feeds primarily on algae.

Mating and reproduction

When mating, the male will clear a section of coral or rock so that the female can attach her eggs.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1975. Damselfishes of the South Seas. TFH Publications. Pp. 237.
  2. Allen, G.R. 1991. Damselfishes of the World. Mergus. Pp. 271.
  3. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 220.
  4. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  5. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 251.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Reticulated Dascyllus, Dascyllus reticulatus, Pomacentridae, Headband Humbug, < 10 cm, coral reef, marine, adult,