Clarke's clownfish are small, orange-black fish with three distinct vertical stripes - one separating the head from the gill cover, one across the fish's posterior, behind their first dorsal fin and one on the peduncle, separating the dark body from the yellow tail. Their snouts are usually orange or pink.
These colours vary regionally - in fact, Clarke's clownfish have the greatest colour variation of any clownfish species. For example, ones inhabiting dark anemones tend to be almost completely black, ones from Vanuatu are yellow with only two stripes and, in some groups, the males' yellow tail fins turn white if they undergo a sex-change.
Clarke's clownfish have the furthest reaching distribution of any clownfish; they are found throughout the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean, most commonly in the Persian Gulf, west Australian coast, Indonesia, Micronesia, Taiwan and Japan.
These clownfish live on coral reefs, in lagoons and on steep rocky reefs no deeper than 60m.
Like most clownfish, Clarke's clownfish are immune to the stings of sea anemone tentacles and live amongst these tentacles for protection. The anemones benefit from this symbiotic relationship is protection from small predators and food scraps from the clownfish. There are 10 species of sea anemone known to host clownfish, and Clarke's clownfish have been found to exploit all of them.
Clarke's clownfish are omnivores and opportunistically feed on dead anemone tentacles, food scraps, small crustaceans, small fish, zooplankton and algae.
Within a group of Clarke's clownfish, a dominance hierarchy is present. All clownfish in a group are male hermaphrodites, except the largest who undergoes a change into a female.
- Also known as Clark's anemonefish, yellowtail clownfish, black clown, brown anemonefish, chocolate clownfish, Clarkie' clown, sea bea, sea anemone and two-banded clownfish.
- Males grow to 10cm and females to 15cm.
- Has the greatest colour variation of any clownfish species.
- Has the widest distribution of any clownfish species.
- Exploits all 10 species of anemone known to host other clownfish species.
- It can be easily distinguished from the often similar-looking Western clownfish (Amphiprion allardi) by the presence of the white peduncle stripe and contrasting tail colour.