Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Adults occur in lagoon and outer reefs (Ref. 2334). Oviparous, distinct pairing during breeding (Ref. 205). Eggs are demersal and adhere to the substrate (Ref. 205). Males guard and aerate the eggs (Ref. 205). Associated with the anemones: Entacmaea quadricolor, Heteractis aurora, Heteractis crispa, Heteractis magnifica, Stichodactyla haddoni, and Stichodactyla mertensii (Ref. 5911). Has been reared in captivity (Ref. 35407).
  • Allen, G.R. 1991 Damselfishes of the world. Mergus Publishers, Melle, Germany. 271 p. (Ref. 7247)
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Distribution

Amphiprion akindynos, also known as the Barrier Reef anemonefish or clownfish, is native to the Western Pacific. Amphiprion akindynos is primarily found in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and in the adjacent Coral Sea. It has also been found in waters off of northern New South Wales, New Caledonia, sections of the Indian Ocean and around the Loyalty Islands. There is some question as to whether A. akindynos also inhabits the waters around Sri Lanka.

Biogeographic Regions: indian ocean (Native ); pacific ocean (Native )

  • Randall, J., G. Allen, R. Steene. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea.. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press.
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Western Pacific: eastern Australia (Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea, northern New South Wales), New Caledonia, and Loyalty Islands. Recently reported from Tonga (Ref. 53797).
  • Allen, G.R. 1991 Damselfishes of the world. Mergus Publishers, Melle, Germany. 271 p. (Ref. 7247)
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Western Pacific.
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Physical Description

Morphology

The body and head of adult A. akindynos are both a brownish orange color. Two black-edged white bars encircle the body. The first bar runs across the top of the head just behind the eye and can be discontinuous and constricted (thin). The second stripe runs around the body at the mid portion of the dorsal fin. The caudal peduncle and caudal fin are both white. Amphiprion akindynos individuals have 10 to 11 dorsal spines, 14 to 17 dorsal soft rays, 2 anal spines, and 13 to 14 soft anal rays.

Juveniles are usually brown with three thick white bars. Sub-adults are usually yellow with two thin white bars. Both adults and juveniles and are often confused with A. clarkii and A. chrysopterus. However, A. clarkii have a more distinct color difference between their body and tail than adult A. akindynos and A. chrysopterus tend to have a darker orange color with bluish bars.

Average mass: 27.5 g.

Range length: 45 to 130 mm.

Average length: 90 mm.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Dorsal spines (total): 10 - 11; Dorsal soft rays (total): 14 - 17; Analspines: 2; Analsoft rays: 13 - 14
  • Allen, G.R. 1991 Damselfishes of the world. Mergus Publishers, Melle, Germany. 271 p. (Ref. 7247)
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Size

Maximum size: 90 mm SL
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Max. size

9.0 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 7247))
  • Allen, G.R. 1991 Damselfishes of the world. Mergus Publishers, Melle, Germany. 271 p. (Ref. 7247)
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Diagnostic Description

Body and head orange with two black-edged white bars; the first running from the top of the head across the face, just behind the eye; the second from the mid portion of the dorsal fin. Caudal peduncle and caudal fin white.
  • Allen, G.R. 1991 Damselfishes of the world. Mergus Publishers, Melle, Germany. 271 p. (Ref. 7247)
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Type Information

Paratype for Amphiprion akindynos Allen
Catalog Number: USNM 204289
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): V. Springer, M. Cameron & P. Woodhead
Year Collected: 1966
Locality: One Tree Islet, Australia, Queensland, Lagoon Side ( One Tree Island Side) of Reef, Flat Barrier To Sand Bank One Mile NNW of One Tree Island, One Tree Island, Capricorn Group, Queensland, Australia, Pacific
Depth (m): 5
  • Paratype: Allen, G. R. 1972. The Anemonefishes. Their classification and biology. 153, 76.
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Paratype for Amphiprion akindynos Allen
Catalog Number: USNM 204288
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): V. Springer
Year Collected: 1966
Locality: One Tree Islet, Capricorn Group, Queensland, Australia. W. End of Bay At NW End of Island, One Tree Island, Capricorn Group, Queensland, Australia, Pacific
Depth (m): 2
  • Paratype: Allen, G. R. 1972. The Anemonefishes. Their classification and biology. 153, 76.
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Paratype for Amphiprion akindynos Allen
Catalog Number: USNM 204292
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): V. Springer, J. Choat & D. Mcmichael
Year Collected: 1966
Locality: Australia: Queensland, One Tree Islet, Capricorn Group, Lagoon Side-a Micro Atoll, Perhaps 100 Yds. Long, 50 Yds. Wide, Sandy Silty Center. About one mile from One Tree Is., One Tree Island, Capricorn Group, Queensland, Australia, Pacific
Depth (m): 2
  • Paratype: Allen, G. R. 1972. The Anemonefishes. Their classification and biology. 153, 76.
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Paratype for Amphiprion akindynos Allen
Catalog Number: USNM 204290
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): V. Springer, D. Mcmichael, J. Choat & M. Cameron
Year Collected: 1966
Locality: Queensland, Australia-One Tree Island Pie Crust Coral Flat Near Transect B (of Talbot) At SW End of Island, One Tree Island, Capricorn Group, Queensland, Australia, Pacific
Depth (m): 1
  • Paratype: Allen, G. R. 1972. The Anemonefishes. Their classification and biology. 153, 76.
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Holotype for Amphiprion akindynos Allen
Catalog Number: USNM 204287
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): V. Springer, J. Choat, P. Woodhead, F. Talbot, M. Cameron, D. Mcmichael & J. Yaldwyn
Year Collected: 1966
Locality: Australia, Queensland, One Tree Islet South Reef Face About One Mile From One Tree Islet (Pacific Ocean), One Tree Island, Capricorn Group, Queensland, Australia, Pacific
Depth (m): 5
  • Holotype: Allen, G. R. 1972. The Anemonefishes. Their classification and biology. 153, 76.
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Paratype for Amphiprion akindynos Allen
Catalog Number: USNM 204291
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): V. Springer, J. Choat, M. Cameron & D. Mcmichael
Year Collected: 1966
Locality: Australia, Queensland, One Tree Island, Coral Outcrop About 1500 Ft WNW of One Tree Island. (Lagoon Side of Island), One Tree Island, Capricorn Group, Queensland, Australia, Pacific
Depth (m): 4
  • Paratype: Allen, G. R. 1972. The Anemonefishes. Their classification and biology. 153, 76.
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Paratype for Amphiprion akindynos Allen
Catalog Number: USNM 204293
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): V. Springer, F. Talbot, J. Choat & B. Goldman
Year Collected: 1966
Locality: Australia, Queensland, One Tree Island, About 1/2 Mile NE of Island On Coral Outcrop, One Tree Island, Capricorn Group, Queensland, Australia, Pacific
Depth (m): 5
  • Paratype: Allen, G. R. 1972. The Anemonefishes. Their classification and biology. 153, 76.
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Ecology

Habitat

Amphiprion akindynos inhabits reef waters and lagoons between 1 and 25 meters deep with temperatures ranging from 10 to 32 degrees Celsius. They are found in nature swimming in and closely around the tentacles of their host anemone. They are able to live and make shelter among the tentacles of anemones without being harmed by the nematocysts (stinging cells) present on the anemone’s tentacles. According to Allen (1980), A. akindynos are protected from possible stings by a special substance which is present in their external mucous covering. This substance does not actually protect them from the stinging cells. “Instead, it lowers the threshold of nematocyst discharge. In other words, it prevents the stinging cells from firing.” Host species of anemone for A. akindynos are: Entacmaea quadricolor, Heteractis aurora, H. crispa, H. magnifica, Stichodactyla haddoni, and S. mertensii.

Range depth: 1 to 25 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; saltwater or marine

Aquatic Biomes: reef

  • Allen, G. 1980. The Anemonefishes of the World: Species, Care and Breeding. United States: Aquarium Systems.
  • Allen, G. 1991. Damselfishes of the World. Melle, Germany: Mergus Publishers.
  • Fautin, D., G. Allen. 1992. Field guide to anemone-fishes and their host sea anemones, 1st ed.. Perth, Australia: Western Australian Museum.
  • Froese, R., D. Pauly. 2002. "Fishbase" (On-line). Accessed October 9, 2002 at www.fishbase.org.
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Environment

reef-associated; non-migratory; marine; depth range 1 - 25 m (Ref. 7247)
  • Allen, G.R. 1991 Damselfishes of the world. Mergus Publishers, Melle, Germany. 271 p. (Ref. 7247)
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Depth range based on 8 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 3 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 4.55 - 66.9273
  Temperature range (°C): 24.508 - 26.692
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.923 - 1.174
  Salinity (PPS): 35.037 - 35.395
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.484 - 4.685
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.122 - 0.203
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.983 - 1.274

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 4.55 - 66.9273

Temperature range (°C): 24.508 - 26.692

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.923 - 1.174

Salinity (PPS): 35.037 - 35.395

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.484 - 4.685

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.122 - 0.203

Silicate (umol/l): 0.983 - 1.274
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 1 - 25m.
From 1 to 25 meters.

Habitat: reef-associated. Occurs in lagoon and outer reefs (Ref. 2334). Associated with @Radianthus gelam@ (Ref. 7303) and @Entacmaea quadricolor@, @Heteractis crispa@, @H. magnifica@, and @Stichodachtyla haddoni@ (Ref. 7247).
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Trophic Strategy

Barrier Reef anemonefish primarily eat algae and zooplankton. Copepods and larval tunicates are among the most common items found when their stomach contents are analyzed. The adult pair of fish (the female and her mate) are the largest fish in the social hierarchy. They tend to stray further from the host anemone to gather food than do the smaller non-dominate fish. It is speculated that one reason for the rapid growth of the mate and the second dominate male when the female dies is that the fish can spend more time feeding and less time competing for a place to live.

Animal Foods: aquatic or marine worms; aquatic crustaceans; echinoderms; cnidarians; other marine invertebrates; zooplankton

Plant Foods: phytoplankton

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats non-insect arthropods); planktivore

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Occurs in lagoon and outer reefs (Ref. 2334).
  • Nguyen, N.T. and V.Q. Nguyen 2006 Biodiversity and living resources of the coral reef fishes in Vietnam marine waters. Science and Technology Publishing House, Hanoi. (Ref. 58534)
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Associations

Amphiprion akindynos have a mutualistic symbiotic relationship with their host anemones. This arrangement works for both Amphiprion akindynos and their host. Without the anemone’s protection and shelter, Amphiprion akindynos are quickly consumed. Conversely Amphiprion akindynos fight off intruders, such as anemone-eating butterflyfish that would otherwise prey on the anemone. Additionally there may be some benefit to the anemone from the fishes’ feeding. Bits of food may drop onto the host and help feed it. It has also been suggested that the fish assists in keeping the anemone clean. The fish moving in and out of the anemone helps to create currents of water, which assist bringing food to the anemone and also in keeping it free of debris.

Species Used as Host:

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Amphiprion akindynos avoid being preyed on by other larger fish by staying in and around their host anemone. As described above, they have a substance in the mucous covering their bodies, making it possible for them to touch the tentacles and not get stung. Predators will avoid getting stung by the tentacles of the host anemone and thus A. akindynos will be safe from larger fish. They may occasionally be preyed on when they are away from a host anemone, either as juveniles looking for a host, or when ejected from their host territory by another anemonefish.

Known Predators:

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Barrier Reef anemonefish use visual cues to communicate among themselves. Chemical communication via their protective mucous covering is essential to their symbiosis with anemones.

Communication Channels: visual ; chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; chemical

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Life Cycle

The larval period of A. akindynos ranges from about 8 to 12 days. Although not known for certain, many believe that during this period the larvae are planktonic, “living in the surface waters of the ocean, where they are passively transported by currents” (Fautin and Allen, 1992). At the end of this period, the fish will descend to the bottom of the sea and begin to acquire the color patterns associated with juveniles. Once they get to the bottom, the young will begin to search for a host anemone. Without the protection of the anemone there is a high likelihood that a fish will be eaten by its predators and there is evidence that there is a high mortality rate at this stage of development (Fautin and Allen, 1992).

Arvedlund et. al. (2000) have found evidence that A. akindynos imprint onto their host anemone during their larval stage and are able to follow a trail of chemicals released by this host anemone, thus allowing these fish to return to the same species of host anemone to live and spawn. However, once returning to their host anemone a fish cannot simply swim into the anemone because it may get stung. According to Fautin and Allen (1992) it can take several hours to become fully acclimated to the anemone once it is located. The acclimation process consists of a series of progressively longer contacts with the tentacles. A. akindynos are initially protected from nematocyst stings by a thick mucus coat. However, over the acclimation process, the clownfish incorporates anemone mucus into its own coat until the anemone no longer stings it, apparently recognizing the fish as part of itself.

Even once a fish locates a host anemone it is not guaranteed a place to live. Within the anemone, there is an intricate social hierarchy. All A. akindynos begin life as males. Within a given anemone, the largest fish is the female and the next largest fish is her mate. There can be several other males in this structure; however, they generally do not have much chance of mating. If the female dies, the next largest male will become a female and the second largest male will become the new mate. In this structure the female is the dominant fish and her mate is the second most dominate. The remainder of the fish must compete and fight for a place in the anemone.

(Fautin and Allen, 1992; Arvedlund et al., 2000)

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Oviparous, distinct pairing during breeding (Ref. 205). Eggs are demersal and adhere to the substrate (Ref. 205). Males guard and aerate the eggs (Ref. 205). Also Ref. 7471.
  • Thresher, R.E. 1984 Reproduction in reef fishes. T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Ltd., Neptune City, New Jersey. 399 p. (Ref. 240)
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Life Expectancy

Individuals generally live between 6 and 10 years in the wild. However, as noted earlier, there is a high mortality rate during the larval, fry, and juvenile stages, which correspond to life stages when the fish do not necessarily have the protection of a host anemone.

They have been known to live up to 18 years in captivity.

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
18 (high) years.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
6 to 10 years.

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Reproduction

Mated pairs occupy the same anemone. Several days prior to spawning, there is increased social interaction between A. akindynos males and females. Usually the male becomes more aggressive and will pursue and bite his mate. He also displays himself either in front of his mate or beside her by fully extending his dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins. During this time, the male also selects a nest site, usually on bare rock adjacent to the host anemone. The male will spend considerable time clearing the site of algae and debris using his mouth. Sometimes the female will join in. Spawning usually occurs during the morning hours and can last from about 30 minutes to more than two hours. The female will swim in a zig-zag path over the nest with her belly brushing its surface. This brushing causes several eggs from her ovipositor to be dislodged. The male will follow behind the female and fertilize the eggs as they are laid. This will continue until all eggs have been dislodged.

Mating System: monogamous

The number of eggs deposited can range from about 100 to over 1000, depending on the size of the fish and on previous experience. The eggs are elliptical and are about 3 to 4 mm in length. They adhere to the nest surface by a tuft of short filaments. The eggs will incubate six to seven days before hatching.

Barrier reef anemonefish are hermaphroditic, with young developing into males first and only later into females if conditions are appropriate.

Breeding interval: Breeding intervals in the wild are unknown.

Breeding season: Breeding may occur throughout the year.

Range number of offspring: 100 to 1000.

Range gestation period: 6 to 7 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; year-round breeding ; sequential hermaphrodite (Protandrous ); sexual ; fertilization (External ); oviparous

Barrier Reef anemonefish are nesters. Males guard the nest from predators and fan the nest with the pectoral fins to remove debris.

Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning); pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Male)

  • Arvedlund, M., I. Bundgaard, L. Nielsen. June 2000. Host Imprinting in Anemonefishes (Pisces: Pomacentridae): Does it Dictate Spawning Site Preferences?. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 58(2): 203-213.
  • Fautin, D., G. Allen. 1992. Field guide to anemone-fishes and their host sea anemones, 1st ed.. Perth, Australia: Western Australian Museum.
  • Richardson, D., P. Harrison, V. Harriot. 1997. Timing of spawning and fecundity of a tropical and subtropical anemonefish (Pomacentridae: Amphiprion) on a high latitude reef on the east coast of Australia.. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 156: 175-181.
  • Froese, R., D. Pauly. 2002. "Fishbase" (On-line). Accessed October 9, 2002 at www.fishbase.org.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Amphiprion akindynos

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Barrier Reef anemonefish are not listed as endangered on any international database.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

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Threats

Not Evaluated
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

There are no negative affects of anemonefish on humans.

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Amphiprion akindynos is popular in the aquarium trade and is an important member of the ecosystems in which they live. They contribute to the color and interest of reef ecosystems, thereby attracting tourism. Amphiprion species are important as research organisms in understanding mutualism.

Positive Impacts: pet trade ; ecotourism ; research and education

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Importance

aquarium: commercial
  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea and W.B. Scott 1991 World fishes important to North Americans. Exclusive of species from the continental waters of the United States and Canada. Am. Fish. Soc. Spec. Publ. (21):243 p. (Ref. 4537)
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Wikipedia

Amphiprion akindynos

Amphiprion akindynos, (barrier reef anemonefish), is an anemonefish of the family Pomacentridae. It is native to reefs and marine lagoons of the Western Pacific. The species name 'akindynos' is Greek, meaning 'safe' or 'without danger' in reference to the safety afforded amongst the tentacles of its host anemone.[1]

Description[edit]

Adults are an orange-brown color with two white bars with black edging encircling the body. The first bar is located on the head behind the eyes and may be thin and broken. The second bar is on the body below the dorsal fin. The caudal peduncle and caudal fin are white. Juveniles are normally brown with three white stripes. In sub-adults the colouring changes to a dull yellow with two white stripes. They have 10 to 11 dorsal spines and 2 anal spines. They reach a maximum length of 9 cm (3½ in) and weigh on average 27.50 g (0.97 oz).

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The barrier reef anemonefish is found in lagoons and outer reefs to depths of 25 m in the Great Barrier Reef, Coral Sea, northern New South Wales, New Caledonia, the Loyalty Islands and Tonga. They prefer water temperatures between 10 and 32°C. They are usually found near to or within the tentacles of their host anemones: the bubble-tip anemone, Entacmaea quadricolor; the Sebae anemone, Heteractis crispa; the magnificent anemone, Heteractis magnifica; the white beaded anemone, Heteractis aurora; the green carpet anemone, Stichodactyla haddoni; and Merten's sea anemone, Stichodactyla mertensii. They are unaffected by the stinging tentacles due to a substance in the mucous covering their bodies which prevents the nematocysts (stinging cells) from firing.

Social structure[edit]

The barrier reef anemonefish live together in a social structure within a single anemone. A dominant female is the largest member of the group, and her mate, the dominant male, the second largest. There are also up to four lower-ranking males. There is little aggression from the large female toward the males, but fierce in-fighting between the males maintains the pecking order. The lowest ranking male may be driven out and forced to seek a place in a group within another anemone host or die. If the female dies, the dominant male assumes her position within the hierarchy and over the course of a few days changes sex. In the wild they may live 6–10 years, but captive species have survived for 18 years.

Reproduction[edit]

The barrier reef anemonefish is a nesting fish. A few days before mating aggression from the dominant male towards the female increases, and at the same time he begins clearing a nest site, usually on a rock close to the host anemone. The rock is cleaned of algae, sometimes with the assistance of the female. When spawning takes place the female zig-zags over the nest site and the male follows fertilizing the eggs which have been deposited. Between 100 and 1000 elliptical eggs of between 3 and 4 mm in length may be laid. They are attached to the nest site by a mass of short filaments. The male guards and aerates the eggs for 6 to 7 days until they hatch.[2] All the fry are born sexless - they develop into males first, and into females only if they rise to the top of the hierarchy within a particular hosted group.

Diet[edit]

The diet of the barrier reef anemonefish consists primarily of algae (seaweeds) and zooplankton.[3] The dominant pair in the social hierarchy tend to travel farther from the host anemone in order to find food. The host anemone may benefit from small pieces of food which the anemonefish drop when feeding.

Aquatic emblem[edit]

The barrier reef anemonefish was officially named as the state aquatic emblem of Queensland in March, 2005.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dianne J. Bray, 2011, Barrier Reef Anemonefish, Amphiprion akindynos, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Aug 2014, http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/1270
  2. ^ Dianne J. Bray, 2011, Barrier Reef Anemonefish, Amphiprion akindynos, in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Aug 2014, http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/1270
  3. ^ Lougher, Tristan (2006). What Fish?: A Buyer's Guide to Marine Fish. Interpet Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 0-7641-3256-3. "What does it eat? In the wild, zooplankton and occasionally seaweeds." 
  4. ^ Queensland Government - emblems
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