Saturday, July 26, 2008


Amphiprion barberi: Beqa, Fiji. Scott W. Michael.

Amphiprion melanopus: Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. Scott W. Michael.

Amphiprion frenatus: pair (male in foreground), Aniloa, Philippines. Janine Cairns-Michael.

In the past month, another anemonefish has been described from Fiji. It has been given the name Amphiprion barberi. This fish has long been considered a color form of Amphiprion melanopus, an anemonefish that is known to range from Bali to the Society Islands, north to the Marianas, and south to the Great Barrier Reef and New Caledonia. But after further investigation by pomacentrid-guru, Dr. Gerald Allen, this supposed variant has been raised to species status. Here is the abstract from the publication:

Amphiprion barberi, a new species of anemonefish fish, is described from 46 specimens, 16.3-85.8 mm SL, collected at depths of 2-10 m from coral reefs of Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa. It is closely allied to A. melanopus, which is widely distributed in the western Pacific. The two species exhibit significant colour-pattern differences, including a mainly reddish orange body in A. barberi and dark brown or blackish body in A. melanopus. Adults of the new species also possess fewer spinules (11-19 versus 19-26) in the upper-opercular series than A. melanopus. Genetic data presented here confirms the separation of these species.


Gerald R. Allen, Joshua Drew and Les Kaufman: Amphiprion barberi, a new species of anemonefish (Pomacentridae) from Fiji, Tonga, and Samoa. Aqua – International Journal of Ichthyology. 14 (3): 105-114

Photos copyright Scott W. Michael.


Jake Adams said...

How does this species differ from the so-called Amphiprion rubrocinctus that is sometimes shipping out of Fiji? Is A. barberi simply the name of this Fijian tomato-style clownfish that has a dark dorsal half and a lighter colored ventral, underbelly?

Scott Michael said...

Hello Jake! Thanks for your comment. Amphiprion rubrocinctus is limited in distribution to Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The fish from Fiji that was once called A. rubrocinctus is A. barberi. In his 1972 dissertation (published by TFH) Gerry Allen suggested that the Fiji fish was A. rubrocinctus. He later retracted that and said that the Fiji fish was probably a variant of A. melanopus (in 1978). Now, by including DNA analysis, he is sure it is a new species.

Anonymous said...

What genes do you sequence to establish the species as independent?

Anonymous said...

what are it's natural host anemones?

Scott Michael said...

Sorry about the delay in responding (was out of town and then trying to catch-up upon my return!). I am looking into the gene question, in regard to the anemone host, I have only seen this fish in Entacmaea quadricolor.

Scott Michael said...

OK. Here it the info your requested (although late!). The gene that is most commonly used for DNA analysis in fishes is cytochrome b.