AppearanceReddish orange with variable amounts of black on sides. A white to pale blueish single stripe on head. Ventral fins black. Both sexes with black well-developed along the back and sides. Size to 13cm (5 in.).
Similar: Essentially identical to the Micronesian, Melanesian and Samoan Melanopus Anemonefishes, and separated here only because of biogeography. The Australian A. cf melanopus is typically brighter in color and with the caudal peduncle and posterior anal fin orange (though this varies within the population). The Vanuautu and New Caledonian A. cf melanopus is much brighter and has relatively little black along the body, as well as having sexually dichromatic pelvic fins and an orange anal fin.
NamingThere are many common names for this fish, befitting its somewhat protean appearance. Its somber hues have given it the moniker “Dusky Anemonefish”, as well as the name used here, the “Cinnamon Anemonefish”. It is also occasionally seen listed under the unwieldy sobriquet “Red and Black Anemonefish” and, more prosaically, the “Melanopus Anemonefish”. The scientific name translates as “black foot”, in reference to its dark ventral fins; Amphiprion nigripes shares a similar etymology, but, alas, there can only be one Blackfoot Anemonefish.
Other Names: Black Anemonefish, Black-back/ed Anemonefish.
DistributionIndonesia, from Java Sea to Southern Mindanao and probably West Papua.
Type Locality: Ambon Island, Molucca Islands, Indonesia
StatusIUCN: Least Concern.
HabitatLive with 3 anemone species in lagoons and outer reefs to 10 m.
Usually lives in association with the anemone host Entacmaea quadricolor, although may be found with Heteractis crispa and rarely with Heteractis magnifica.
ReproductionIt is a sequential hermaphrodite with a strict sized based dominance hierarchy: the female is largest, the breeding male is second largest, and the male non-breeders get progressively smaller as the hierarchy descends. They exhibit protandry, meaning the breeding male will change to female if the sole breeding female dies, with the largest non-breeder becomes the breeding male.
DefenseLike all anemonefishes it forms a symbiotic mutualism with sea anemones and is unaffected by the stinging tentacles of the host anemone.
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