Petition: Change the name Damselfish to Hooliganfish


The pomacentridae are a family of marine and brackish water fishes which are usually called “damselfishes”. These are interesting fishes, with a number of diverse social systems: solitary, schooling, or living in groups centered around an anemone – yes, the “Nemo” fishes are also damselfishes.

Notably, a lot of pomacentridae are very territorial, and will attack even animals or divers much, much larger than themselves. I have been bitten, headbutted and threatened by pomacentrids which thought that I was too close to their territory.  If a larger damselfish weights about 100 grams, that would mean it’s roughly 1000 times smaller than myself …  this is akin to me attacking a blue whale with my bare fists…. very gutsy.

damselfish. Photo By Klauss Stiefel

Websters Dictionary defines damsel as “A young unmarried woman of noble birth” – a fragile, civilized, polite kind of person. This is not what a pomacentrid is like!

Pomacentrus sp. Photo By Klauss Stiefel

A much better common name for this family of fishes would be hooliganfish! A hooligan, according to the urban dictionary, is “one who engages in innappropriate actions, which can be violent, shenanaganical, illegal, harmful, harmless, annoying, cheeky and fun, dangerous, or/ and evil”. Well, nothing a fish can do can be illegal (as far as my understanding of the legal situation goes) but the rest is spot on.

In order to stop the normalization of fish-on-fish and fish-on-diver violence by pomacentrids, I demand:

Change the name “damselfish” to “hooliganfish”!



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May 29, 2019 |

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