AppearanceThe Maldive anemonefish is a small fish which grows up to 11 cm as a female and 8 cm as a male. It is oval-bodied and laterally compressed.
This clownfish is characterized by its rusty orange color with a single white stripe running vertically just behind the eye. It has black pelvic and anal fins , and a variable area on its belly can be more or less black. Depending on geographic location, some fishes can be orangeish-yellow with an anal fin which is not black, but the same color as the body.
DistributionThe Maldive anemonefish is found in the western Indian Ocean of the Maldive Islands, Laccadive Islands, and Sri Lanka.
Behavior''Amphiprion nigripes'' is active during the day. It is a protandrous hermaphrodite, which means all fish are hatched as males and later can change sex to female. The males live in harems in which an established dominance hierarchy manages the group and keeps individuals at a specific social rank.
It also aggressively defends its territory and is completely dependent on its sea anemone which represents its "life insurance" as a safe shelter for the group and for the nest.
The associative relationship that binds the clownfish and the sea anemone is called mutualism. The fish lives within the sea anemone's tentacles and can use it as a shelter because it has developed a thin layer of mucus which covers its body as a protection against the anemone's stinging tentacles, and the presence of the clownfish can be interpreted as a lure to attract potential anemone prey close to its tentacles; the clownfish can also defend the anemone against some reef fishes which could eat the tentacles, such as butterflyfish.
HabitatThis species typically lives in small groups on outer reef slopes at depths of 2–25 m . It is particularly associated with the magnificent sea anemone.
FoodThis anemonefish is omnivorous and its diet is based on zooplankton, small benthic crustaceans, and algae.
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