Amphiprion sebae

Within the Pomacentridae family or also known as the family of damselfishes & clownfishes we find Amphiprion sebae , one of the 387 species currently existing in this family, which is organized into 4 subfamilies and a total of 29 different genera. This species is found in the waters of the Indian Ocean, from the Arabian Peninsula to Indonesia. It is associated in tropical climate waters with coral reefs and lagoons, up to depths of 25 meters.

The body of Amphiprion sebae is oval, laterally compressed and reaches a maximum total length of 16 cm in the case of females, a length that for males is always much less than about half. The dorsal fin is formed by 10-11 spines followed by 14-17 soft rays, while the anal fin has 2 spines and 13-14 soft rays.

The predominant body color of Amphiprion sebae is dark brown or blackish, with usually two white vertical stripes. The first stripe is located behind the eyes, while the second stripe starts approximately at the height of the horizontal half of the base of the dorsal fin and runs diagonally towards the anal area. In some specimens this second white stripe extends along the part of the soft rays of the anal fin, up to its upper margin. The caudal fin is yellow-orange, as are the pectoral fins, ventral fins, anal fins and the rostrum.

Amphiprion sebae establishes a mutualistic association with anemone specimens (mainly Stichodactyla haddoni and occasionally Heteractis crispa), in which an adult pair and several juvenile specimens coexist in the same anemone.

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

The reproduction of Amphiprion sebae, 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.

Amphiprion sebae may have some resemblance to Amphiprion polymnus, the distinctive features of the latter species being a black wedge-shaped spot on the caudal fin. It could also be confused with the black chromatic version of Amphiprion clarkii, although the differences are very evident, Amphiprion sebae has only two stripes, the second one being inclined, while Amphiprion clarkii has 3 stripes, and the second one is not inclined.