Amphiprion nigripes

Within the Pomacentridae family or also known as the family of damselfishes & clownfishes we find 4 subfamilies grouped together, encompassing a total of 29 different genera and 387 species at present. One of them is Amphiprion nigripes, this clownfish lives exclusively in the waters of the western Indian Ocean, between Maldives and Sri Lanka. It is associated with coral reefs at depths of up to 25 meters.

With a maximum total length of 11 cm for female specimens, and slightly less for males (8 cm), Amphiprion nigripes has an oval and laterally compressed body. Its dorsal fin is continuous, consisting of 10-11 spines followed by 17-18 soft rays. The anal fin has 2 spines and 13-15 soft rays.

The color of Amphiprion nigripes is orange, with a vertical white band located on the head, descending behind the eyes. This band is not continuous, that is, the bands on both sides do not meet neither on the top of the head, nor on the ventral side. The dorsal, caudal and pectoral fins are the same orange color as the body, but the anal fins and ventral fins are black. The ventral region of the carapace between the anal and ventral fins may be black.

Amphiprion nigripes establishes an association of mutualistic character with specimens of anemones (Hetaractis magnifica), in which coexist in the same anemone, an adult pair and several juvenile specimens.

Like most clownfish, Amphiprion nigripes is omnivorous, feeding on zooplankton and small benthic invertebrates and occasionally algae.

The reproduction of Amphiprion nigripes, as with most other species of the genus Amphiprion, has some features that may be curious to say the least. It is a protandric hermaphrodite species, that is to say all specimens are initially males, and in the absence of the female of a colony, the most dominant male undergoes a transformation process to become the dominant female of the colony. These colonies that are formed between the different specimens that coexist in the anemone are stable colonies, meaning that the couple formed between the male and dominant females is monogamous. During the breeding season, the male will perform a ritual of attraction towards the female, in which he completely unfolds his fins. This behavior will be intertwined with swimming movements up and down to attract her attention, as well as cleaning a rocky area adjacent to the anemone. In each of the clutches, a little less than a thousand eggs are laid, which the male will delicately care for by renewing the water with delicate movements of his fins. After about a week, they will hatch. The life expectancy of the species is between 6 and 10 years.