Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Amphiprion pacificus, a new species of clownfish discovered in Fiji

Underwater photos of Amphiprion pacificus, adult, approximately 60 mm SL, Fiji. Photo by J. Jensen

Amphiprion pacificus is a new species of anemonefish discovered by Gerald R. Allen, Joshua Drew and Douglas Fenner described in the latest issue of the Aqua, the International Journal of Ichthyology. The researchers discovered A. pacificus in the Wallis Island and Tonga in the western Pacific with other underwater photographs revealing its presence on coral reefs of Fiji and Samoa.

The team notes the new taxon is nearly identical in appearance to A. akallopisos from the Indian Ocean. The two share common characteristics — typically pinkish-brown and grading to orange or yellow on the lower portion of the head and side, with a similar white stripe extending from the head along the dorsal midline ending at the caudal fin. Genetic testing does reveal show A. pacificus is more closely related to A. sandaracinos (Orange Skunk Clownfish) hailing from the Western Australia and Indo-Malayan region. The physical differences between the common orange skunk differs from A. pacificus with its more uniform orange coloration and the white forehead stripe extends onto the upper lip. The team also noticed what appears to be differences in the number of soft dorsal and anal rays on each species.

If you’re interesting in reading the entire paper, you can purchase it online in PDF format from Aqua.

Amphiprion pacificus, a new species of clownfish discovered in Fiji

Scuba Diving Fiji