Ocellaris Clownfish Fact File
Credit: Lo2asinamura, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Wild 30 years
Captive 30 years
We Found Nemo!
The ocellaris clownfish became one of the world’s best known fish following the release of the Pixar film Finding Nemo in 2003.
With their bright orange body and thick white bands the clown fish are easy to recognize. The ocellaris clownfish shares a similar appearance to A. percula and the two are easily confused.
These fish enjoy a symbiotic relationship with anemones. They live among the anemone which provides it protection.
Increasingly this species is threatened through habitat modification and collection for the pet trade.
Read on to learn more about these fantastic fish.
What does the Ocellaris Clownfish look like?
The clownfish is among the world’s most recognized fish species with a bright orange body. This is patterned with three white stripes with thin black borders along their edge.
A rare variant of this species is recorded from around the coast of Darwin in Australia. These individuals have their orange segments replaced with black. They are increasingly popular in the aquarium trade.
Their body ends with a flattened, circular tail. The iris of their eye is colored orange or black.
An average ocellaris clownfish will measure 9.5cm (3.7in) long. Females are larger than the males.
How does the Ocellaris Clownfish survive in its habitat?
The ocellaris clownfish produces a layer of mucus, this protects them from the anemones in which they live. This is a symbiotic relationship with the clownfish driving off intruders and removing parasites.
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What does the Ocellaris Clownfish eat?
The ocellaris clownfish is an omnivore. They will feed on a range of algae, worms, crustaceans and any leftovers from the anemones last meal.
Learn more about the Ocellaris Clownfish in this video from Deep Marine Sciences on YouTube
Where do you find the Ocellaris Clownfish?
The ocellaris clownfish is found through the Indo-Pacific ocean. Their range covers areas along the coastline of Indonesia, the Philippines, Australia and mainland Asia.
Where can the Ocellaris Clownfish survive?
These animals are often associated with reef environments. They an also be found in sheltered lagoons.
The ocellaris clownfish is notable for its association with anemones. These fish use the anemone for shelter where they are protected due to its sting. They secrete mucus which protects them from this.
When they first move in to the anemone they must acclimate to its sting by slowly passing their belly over its tentacles.
Credit: Holger Krisp, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
How does the Ocellaris Clownfish produce its young?
Ocellaris clownfish are all born male. When the single female in the school passes away the largest male in the group will transform in to a female.
As they live in tropical areas spawning can occur year round. It typically takes place in the morning.
The pair will deposit their eggs on to a surface near their anemone. The eggs are colored orange. Males work to prepare a nest site by clearing a rock or other suitable area. These are then fanned by the parents to aerate them.
Within 6 to 11 days the eggs begin to hatch. This variation is caused by the temperature at which they are incubated.
At hatching the young float up to the surface and spend their first day in a planktonic like state. After this they will transform in to a juvenile and then move to the ocean floor to find a potential mate.
What does the Ocellaris Clownfish do during its day?
Ocellaris clownfish will live in small groups made up of a breeding male and female and several non-breeding males. The breeding individuals will grow to be larger than the non-breeders.
Credit: Public Domain
Predators and Threats
What stops the Ocellaris Clownfish from surviving and thriving?
Despite the protection afforded by their anemone host this species may still face predation from damselfish, wrasses and brittle stars though these mainly target juveniles.
This species is incredibly popular in the aquarium trade and large numbers are collected from the wild for sale in to this hobby.
They are also closely associated with coral reefs and the decline of this habitat through climate change may further impact their survival.
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They are also known as the clown anemonefish or the false percula clownfish.
The clownfish was made famous through the Pixar film Finding Nemo.
Their species name is taken from the Latin word, ocellaris meaning eye-like spot. This is in reference to a spot which was present on the tail of a preserved individual used to describe the species but this was in fact an artifact of the preservation.
Credit: Public Domain
Harvey, D. and Limon, D., 2020. The ocean book. Malaysia: Tall Tree Ltd.
Newcomb, D. 2004. “Amphiprion ocellaris” (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February 25, 2022 at https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Amphiprion_ocellaris/
Bray, D.J. 2021, Amphiprion ocellaris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Feb 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1275
Reeflifesurvey.com. 2022. Amphiprion ocellaris – Western Clown Anemonefish. [online] Available at: <https://reeflifesurvey.com/species/amphiprion-ocellaris/> [Accessed 26 February 2022].
The Dallas World Aquarium | #DWAZOO. 2022. Black ocellaris clownfish | The Dallas World Aquarium. [online] Available at: <https://dwazoo.com/animal/black-ocellaris-clownfish/> [Accessed 26 February 2022].
Seaandreef.com. 2022. Ocellaris – Clownfish – Marine Ornamental Fish – Sea and Reef Aquaculture. [online] Available at: <https://www.seaandreef.com/marine-ornamental-fish/clownfish/ocellaris> [Accessed 26 February 2022].
Jungledragon.com. 2022. Ocellaris Clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris) – JungleDragon. [online] Available at: <https://www.jungledragon.com/specie/1581/ocellaris-clownfish.html> [Accessed 26 February 2022].
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