A pair of tomato clownfish will mate for life. However, if one partner leaves, then the other will find a replacement for its lost mate.
Mating System: monogamous
One of the most interesting characteristics of anemonefishes is that all offspring are born male, and mature as such. Therefore, all females are sex-reversed. This sexual metamorphosis occurs when the female of a group leaves. This will trigger the largest male remaining to switch sexes and will allow the largest juvenile to become a mature male. The adult pair will then continue to stunt the growth of the remaining offspring.
When courting a female, a male will exhibit both sterotyped and ritualised behavior. A male will chase a female, as he becomes more bold. He also has the tendancy to show off for his mate by erecting his dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins as he remains in one spot near her, much like a statue. Another form of behavior recorded among A. frenatus is "signal jumping," which means that a male will move rapidly around an anemone in an up and down manner. In the beginning of their courtship, a male will also spend a large amount of time picking out the nesting site that he will eventually guard if he is successful in mating with a female. At the end of courtship, she will also help her mate in clearing the nesting site of algae and other debris. When laying eggs, a female will place the adhesive eggs on a rock near the anemone. The male then watches over them until they hatch.
Tomato clownfish, like all Amphiprion, will breed all year long in the tropics, but only in the warmer months of temperate locations. Spawning occurs during a full moon, which is characteristic of all anemomefishes.
Breeding interval: Tomato clownfish, like all Amphiprion, will breed all year long in the tropics, but only in the warmer months of temperate locations.
Breeding season: Spawning occurs during a full moon, which is characteristic of all anemome fishes.
Range number of offspring: 100 to >1,000.
Average time to hatching: 6-7 days.
Average time to independence: 8-12 days.
Key Reproductive Features: year-round breeding ; sequential hermaphrodite (Protandrous ); sexual ; oviparous
After the eggs are laid near the host anemone, the male looks after the eggs, and both the male and female will protect the eggs as well. After the larvae hatch, they swim away to find an anemone of their own to inhabit, and no further care is given by the parents.
Parental Investment: pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Male, Female)
- Fautin, D., G. Allen. 1992. Field Guide to Anemone Fishes and Their Host Sea Anemones. Perth: Western Australian Museum. Accessed October 29, 2004 at http://biodiversity.uno.edu/ebooks/intro.html.
- Myers, R. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes: A Field Guide for Divers and Aquarists. Territory of Guam: Coral Graphics.
- Wickler, W. 1963. The Marine Aquarium. Stuttgart: T.F.H. Publications, Inc Ltd..