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Related Articles: Maroon Clowns, Brooklynellosis, Damselfish, Anemones, Premnas Pix,

/The Conscientious Marine Aquarist

The Clownfishes, Damsels of the subfamily Amphiprionae, Part 1

To: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8

By Bob Fenner

Amphiprion bicinctus

"Oh my gosh! That plant is eating that fish!" You know it's got to be a neophyte observing a member of the clown or Anemonefishes subfamily Amphiprionae, in the Damselfishes family (Pomacentridae), cavorting amongst the tentacles of a host anemone.

Prized for their bold and bright color patterns, comical behavior, and ability to thrive in captivity, there is much disinformation regarding the selection and care of clown-anemone fishes. This sub-Section attempts to present straight-forward information on how to be successful with the damsels we call clowns.


Is still a jumble. There are about twenty six valid species, all but one in the genus Amphiprion; with one member in the genus Premnas. These are further lump-able into four "complexes". Ho-boy.

Unfortunately for aquarists, Anemonefishes are very frequently misidentified in our trade/hobby, and share the same four or five common names. Notable species, grouped by similar appearances include:

1) Multiple-striped orange to tan to brown clowns: Amphiprion ocellaris, variously sold as "Percula" clowns from whom they can usually be distinguished by the presence of thick black bordering on the white bars of the "true" Perculas, .Amphiprion percula. Other similarly marked species include Amphiprion clarkii, Amphiprion bicinctus, Amphiprion chrysopterus and the rare Amphiprion sebae ("C-bay"), more often than not a misidentified Clarkii clown. Oh yes, and the tear-shaped, saddle-back clown, Amphiprion polymnus, the Wide-Band Anemonefish, Amphiprion latezonatus. There are others...

Amphiprion akindynos Allen 1972, the Barrier Reef Anemonefish. Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. To five inches long. Similar to Clark's Clown but has wider white bars and more consistent dark brown body color. In a Heteractis crispa symbiont off of Heron Island, GBR, Australia.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

Amphiprion allardi Klausewitz 1970, Allard's Anemonefish. Similar to A. chrysopterus but with a more pale tail color (to white) and widely separated distribution. East Africa coast; Kenya to Durban. To five inches in length. Pix of an adult and juvenile by Calvin Jennings
Amphiprion bicinctus Ruppell 1828, the Two-Band or Red Sea Anemonefish. Bright orange and brown bodied, with two vertical body bands, the first expanded above the head. Yellow tailed. Found in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Chagos Archipelago. To five inches in length. Red Sea image.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)
Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
Amphiprion chagosensis Allen 1972, the Chagos Anemonefish. Light to dark brown overall, with two narrow white body bands, whitish tail. To four inches in length. Found in the Chagos Archipelago and the upper Red Sea reportedly.

No pic (got to keep my eyes open!)

Amphiprion chrysogaster Cuvier 1830, the Mauritian Anemonefish. Very dark base body color, with yellow underneath and dark tail. Confined to Mauritius and Reunion Islands in the lower Indian Ocean. Photos by Christopher Waters and Marina Peters.

Bigger PIX:
The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.

To: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8


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