Percula Clown Fish (Amphiprion percula)


Class: Osteichthyes
Order: Perciformes
Family:    Amphiprion
Size:    Length: Up to 4 inches (10 cm) 
Weight: Approximately 1 ounce (28 g)
Diet: Fish, zooplankton, small crustaceans and algae
Distribution: Tropical waters including the Red Sea, Coral Sea, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia
Young:  Hundreds of orange eggs, twice per month
Animal Predators:  Unknown
IUCN Status: No special status
Terms: Young: Fry
Lifespan: 3 to 5 years in captivity



·         The percula clown fish is also known as the “clown anemone fish.” 

·         There are hundreds of different types of clown fish that come in a variety of colours and patterns. 



Percula clown fish are orange with three white stripes, bordered in black. They are named clown fish because of their clown-like markings and because their movements make them appear to be waddling while swimming. Females are larger than males. 



Clown fish live in the warm waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. They live in temperatures that range from 75 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 26 C). 


Feeding Habits

Clown fish live among anemone. Anemone look like flowers or plants and live on the floor of the ocean. They have hundreds of poisonous tentacles that kill fish with a touch. Clown fish wait until the anemone paralyzes and eats a fish, then they feed on whatever is left over. They also eat zooplankton, dead anemone tentacles and some small crustaceans. They clean the anemone by eating the algae from their tentacles.  



Clown fish form monogamous pairs and mate an average of twice per month. The female lays her orange, oval-shaped eggs on a flat surface, such as a rock. Prior to the egg-laying, both parents vigorously clean the rock by biting at it. Once they are laid, the male releases sperm over the eggs, then keeps watch over them, fanning them and mouthing them, for the next six to 10 days, until they hatch. The female guards the territory from intruders during this time. When they hatch, the larvae feed on zooplankton until they develop into miniature versions of their parents. 



Clown fish seem to be immune to the anemone’s poison, and scientists believe this is because clown fish are coated with a protective coating of mucous. Both clown fish and anemones benefit from their relationship—while clown fish get leftovers of the fish that the anemone captures, they are also safe from most predators because the anemone captures and eats any fish that approach too closely. In return, the clown fish are beneficial to the anemone because they attract the kinds of fish that the anemone eats. Clown fish are very active fish, and the older ones are especially aggressive at defending their territory in the anemone. They chase away fish such as butterfly fish, that prey on the anemone by biting the ends of the tentacles. 



Clown fish are protected by many governments from being gathered for the pet trade, and are not a conservation concern at this time. 



Clown Fish Wildlife Fact File, IM Pub, US

Reef Fish Identification, Paul Humann, New World Publications, Inc. 1989