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White-capped clownfish

Amphiprion leucokranos

Description: The White-capped or White-bonnet clownfish is named for the white “teardrop” on its forehead. They also have a white bar behind the eye. The name “leucokranos” is derived from the Greek word meaning “white capped” or “white helmet”. Their body varies from apricot to a brownish-orange.

Size: Maximum length for this clownfish is about 3.5 inches (9 cm).

Behavior: This clownfish is a sequential hermaphrodite (all are born male and can change to female later in life) and has a hierarchical system. There is one large, breeding dominant female, one smaller sexually active male and a few smaller males and juveniles living in their small group. When the dominate female leaves or dies, the largest male will change sex and become the dominant female and then the next largest male will become the sexually active one.

Diet: These ominivores feed mainly on undigested food from their host anemone, zooplankton and some algae.

Communication: The hierarchical system within their group is communicated through aggression by the larger fish living in the anemone toward the smaller fish. Before spawning, the male communicates his intentions by biting, chasing and extending his fins towards the female.

Reproduction: Females lay demersal, reddish orange eggs on a previously cleared spot, usually
an area under its host anemone’s tentacles. The male then swims over the eggs fertilizing them as he goes. After fertilization, the male hovers over the eggs and fans them with his fins until they hatch eight to ten days later. Once hatched, the larvae migrate to the surface of the water and after about two weeks of growing, these juvenile clownfish settle in a benthic environment in search of a host anemone.

Habitat/range: These tropical fish inhabit lagoons and outer reef slopes throughout the Western Central Pacific Ocean.

Status: Not assessed for the IUCN Red List.