Chromis punctipinnis

Physical Description

  • Long perch-shaped fish
  • Back is dark blue, almost black; sides are bluish-gray
  • Scales from mid-body to tail and dorsal and tail fins have black spots
  • Often a light blue border around the fins


  • Monterey Bay, California to Punta San Pablo, Baja California, Mexico
  • Most common south of Point Conception, California


  • Inshore waters
  • Rocky reefs and manmade structures like oil rigs
  • Often gather at night in small crevices, caves, under ledges, or other protected spaces
  • Young fish are often in kelp beds
  • Depths of 270 feet, but more common from surface to 147.5 feet


  • Zooplankton: copepods, eggs, larvae of other animals


  • Least terns, cormorants, bald eagles, California Sea Lions, harbor seals, and larger fish

Interesting Facts

  • Blacksmith often school in large numbers in open water
  • Blacksmith let senorita fish and some surfperch clean them, and juvenile blacksmith sometimes clean other fish! 

Sources: Aquarium of the Pacific

Photo: Derek Tarr

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