Percula Clownfish

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Percula Clownfish
Scientific classification
Species:A. percula
Binomial name
Amphiprion percula
(Lacepède, 1802)

The Percula Clownfish (Amphiprion percula) is a popular aquarium fish. Like other clownfish (also called anemonefish), it often lives in association with the sea anemone Heteractis magnifica, using them for shelter and protection. Although popular, maintaining this species in captivity is rather complex.



The commensalism between anemonefish and anemones depends on the presence of the fish drawing other fish to the anemone, where they are stung by its poisonous tentacles. The anemone helps the fish by giving it protection from predators, which include brittle stars, wrasses, and other damselfish, and the fish helps the anemone by feeding it, increasing oxygenation, and removing waste material from the host. Studies carried out at Marineland of the Pacific by Dr. Demorest Davenport and Dr. Kenneth Noris in 1958 revealed that the mucus secreted by the anemone fish prevented the anemone from discharging its lethal stinging nematocysts. The fish feeds on algae, zooplankton, worms, and small crustaceans.


This Clown Anemonefish can be recognised by its orange colour with three white bars and black markings on the fins. It grows about eight centimeter in length. This species can be misrecognised by the other species called False-Clown Anemonefish due to its color and pattern.


Since these fish live in a warm water environment they can reproduce all year long. Each group of fish consists of a breeding pair and 0-4 non-breeders. Within each group there is a size-based hierarchy: the female is largest, the male is second largest, and the non-breeders get progressively smaller as the hierarchy descends. If the female dies, the male changes sex, becomes the breeding female and the largest non-breeder becomes the breeding male.

It has been unclear why the non-breeders continue to associate with these groups. Unlike non-reproductives in some animal groups, they cannot obtain occasional breeding opportunities, because their gonads are non-functional. They cannot be regarded as helpers at the nest, since it has been found their presence does not increase the reproductive success of the breeders. Recent research (Buston, 2004) suggests that they are simply queueing for the territory occupied by the breeders, i.e. the anemone; nonbreeders living in association with breeders have a better chance of eventually securing a territory than a non-resident.

The development of the fish from juvenile to adult is dependent on the system of hierarchy. There is aggression involved in these small families although usually not between the male and the females. The aggression usually is between the males. The largest male will bully the next smallest male and the cycle continues until the smallest fish leaves the host anemone. Amphiprion percula are very competitive fish and this causes the smaller fish to have a stunted growth. However in an aquarium, this fish is peaceful, and it can live in an aquarium environment well.

The fish lay their eggs in a safe spot close to the anemone for protection; it usually takes 6-7 days for the eggs to hatch. During this time the male is very protective over the nest. The mother usually has the babies in the morning it usually lasts for about half an hour and 100 to 1000 eggs can come out. The male fertilizes the eggs when they come out.

External links


  • “Anemone Fish,” The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th Ed. 1998, p. 397.
  • Buston, P. M. (2004). Territory inheritance in clownfish. Royal Society Biology Letters, online.
  • Herald, E. (1961) Living Fishes of the World, Garden City NY: Chanticker Press (p. 202)
  • Solomon, E., Berg, L. & Martin, D. (2002). Biology 6th Edition. Thomas Learning. (p. 972)
  • Wheeler, A. (1975). Fishes of the world. New York: Macmillan (pp. 109-110).
  • Allen, G.R. 1993. Reef Fishes of New Guinea. A Field Guide for Divers, Anglers, and Naturalists. Christensen Research Institute. No.8 Pp. 132.

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