Latin name

Nemateleotris decora

Other names

Nemateleotris decora, purple firefish.


Slender, brightly coloured fish. 

Features of fish fins

The dorsal fin has 7 spines and 27 to 32 soft rays, while the anal fin has a single spike and 28 to 31 soft rays. 

Fish colouring

The head is purple and the body colour is whitish or yellowish, gradually darkening to dark grey towards the tail. The fins have longitudinal stripes of purple, red, black and orange.


They inhabit the tropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific, from Mauritius to Samoa, north to the Ryukyu Islands and south to New Caledonia. 


It inhabits hard, open reef bottoms, sandy areas and rubble, and the deeper nearshore cliffs of outer reefs where there are strong currents, at depths of 25 to 70 m (82-230 ft). 


It reaches a maximum length of 9 cm.


This species is often found in pairs and is monogamous. When alarmed, the fish rush into burrows.

Food and feeding habits

Feeds on zooplankton, especially larval paddlefish and crustaceans.


This species sometimes spawns in captivity. Monogamous mating is considered obligatory and social.


It has no commercial value.

Relationship with a person

This fish is popular in reef aquariums.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Gobiiformes
Family Gobiidae
Genus Nemateleotris
Species N. decora
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Pelagic
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg No information
Maximum length, cm 9
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Not edible
Way of eating Planktonophage

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