Tag: Saddleback Anemonefish (Amphiprion polymnus)

The Saddleback Anemonefish (Amphiprion polymnus), also commonly known as the Saddleback Clownfish, is one of the best examples of a truly benthic member of the Damselfish (Pomacentridae) family.

Growing to a maximum length of around 15cm, the Saddleback Anemonefish is easily distinguished by its overall dark/black colouration with characteristic vertical white bar behind the eye and a large white patch on the back after which it is named. Juveniles and sub-adults tend to by lighter in colour, usually pale to dark brown.

Most, if not all, locally occurring individuals have a distinctive orange patch on the face which sometimes extends along the underside as far as the pectoral fins. The pectoral fins of local individuals also have a varying degree of yellow/orange colouration, particularly at the base.

The colouration and markings described above relate to locally occurring Saddleback Anemonefish. Individuals in other areas are known to lack the orange/yellow markings and may even exhibit an additional white band at the caudal peduncle.

Saddleback Anemonefish are most closely associated with Saddle Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni), (although some groups will inhabit other Anemone species). In local waters these are particularly abundant on the seaward side of Mae Haad/Koh Ma where the Carpet Anemones can be found in loose aggregations.

Each Anemone will usually host between one and six individuals, often of various sizes and ages, with the largest individual being the female.

During the reproductive periods, Saddleback Anemonefish lay their eggs in or around the base of the host Anemone, and will go to extreme lengths to ward of intruders many times their own size.

Divers who encroach anywhere within 5m or so of the Anemone during this period will be rapidly approached by the larger adults in the group, who will aggressively attempt to deter the intruders, sometimes inflicting a surprisingly painful nip to enforce their point!

The Saddleback Anemonefish (Amphiprion polymnus), also commonly known as the Saddleback Clownfish, is one of the best examples of a truly benthic member of the Damselfish (Pomacentridae) family.

Growing to a maximum length of around 15cm, the Saddleback Anemonefish is easily distinguished by its overall dark/black colouration with characteristic vertical white bar behind the eye and a large white patch on the back after which it is named. Juveniles and sub-adults tend to by lighter in colour, usually pale to dark brown.

Most, if not all, locally occurring individuals have a distinctive orange patch on the face which sometimes extends along the underside as far as the pectoral fins. The pectoral fins of local individuals also have a varying degree of yellow/orange colouration, particularly at the base.

The colouration and markings described above relate to locally occurring Saddleback Anemonefish. Individuals in other areas are known to lack the orange/yellow markings and may even exhibit an additional white band at the caudal peduncle.

Saddleback Anemonefish are most closely associated with Saddle Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni), (although some groups will inhabit other Anemone species). In local waters these are particularly abundant on the seaward side of Mae Haad/Koh Ma where the Carpet Anemones can be found in loose aggregations.

Each Anemone will usually host between one and six individuals, often of various sizes and ages, with the largest individual being the female.

During the reproductive periods, Saddleback Anemonefish lay their eggs in or around the base of the host Anemone, and will go to extreme lengths to ward of intruders many times their own size.

Divers who encroach anywhere within 5m or so of the Anemone during this period will be rapidly approached by the larger adults in the group, who will aggressively attempt to deter the intruders, sometimes inflicting a surprisingly painful nip to enforce their point!

Alan's picture
Saddleback Anemonefish (Amphiprion polymnus) and Haddon's Carpet Anemone (Stichodactyla haddoni)

A pair of adult Saddleback Anemonefish (Amphiprion polymnus) keep a watchful eye on a single tiny juvenile.

Although tiny, it is possible to see the lighter colouration of the juvenile when compared to the two adults.