Orange Dottyback


Name: Orange Dottyback

Local name: Nabbat

Scientific name: Pseudochromis aldabraensis

Classification: Class: ray-finned fishes; Order: perch-likes; Family: dottybacks (Pseudochromidae)

Synonym: Pseudochromis dutoiti

Size: The species attains 10 cm in total length.


It inhabits offshore coral areas and rocky reefs from shallow waters down to about 25 m depth. This cryptic species is quick to take shelter. Its life cycle is characterized by a bi-directional sex change with females turning into males and vice versa.


In the Western Indian Ocean it is distributed from Aldabra Atoll in East Africa, via southern Arabia, the Arabian Gulf, and south-eastwards to Sri Lanka.

Conservation status:

It has not yet been assessed globally by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In a recent regional assessment for the Arabian Gulf it was classified as Least Concern (LC). It is a popular aquarium fish, which is usually traded as Neon Dottyback.


The body of the Orange Dottyback is elongate, with a long-based dorsal fin of three spines and 28 – 30 soft rays, and a caudal fin with a truncate hind margin. It is easily distinguished from similar species in the Arabian Gulf by its color pattern: it is bright orange to orange-brown with three light blue stripes on the head, the uppermost of which continues to the caudal peduncle. The head behind the eyes and between the two upper stripes is black.