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Percula Clownfish

Percula Clownfish
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Scientific classification
Binomial name
Amphiprion percula
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.

Range and Habitat

Naturally found in Western Pacific: Queensland and Melanesia including northern Great Barrier Reef, northern New Guinea, New Britain, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Fiji Islands. Anemonefishes lives near warm temperature, marine corals in depth of 1-15 meters and are sheltered by large sea-anemone called Stoichactis.


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 fish is often confused with A. ocellaris because of its similar color and pattern. The Percula Anemonefish has bright orange color, typically containing three stripes on its body and black edge fins. It looks like the Finding "Nemo" fish. It has ten dorsal fin spines. It usually grows to be around three inches with an average lifespan of 6-10 years.


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. 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. The 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.

Further reading

  1. Agbayani, Eli “Amphiprion Percula, Orange Clownfish,”, 3/10/2003
  2. “Anemone Fish,” The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th Ed. 1998, pg 397
  3. Herald, Earl. 1961 Living Fishes of the World, Chanticker Press Inc., Garden City NY Pg. 202
  4. Solomon, Eldra. Berg, Linda. and Martin, Diana. 2002 Biology 6th Edition. ThomasLearning Inc. USA pg. 972
  5. Wheeler, Alwyne. 1975 Fishes of the World, Mcmillan Publishing Co. Inc. Ny,Pg. 109-110