Identifying The True Madagascar Anemonefish

Discussion in 'Reef Aquarium Articles and How To's' started by Zumaboy, Jan 7, 2011.

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  1. Zumaboy

    Zumaboy Astrea Snail

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    In October 2009, two pairs of A. Latifasciatus were sent to Japan as a goodwill gift from Madagascar. Many Clownfish enthusiasts hoped that the Madagascar Anemonefish (A.Latifasciatus) would be made available state side soon after.

    Top photo; True Madagascar (A. Latifasciatus)
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    A. Latifasciatus has finally arrived state side. A bonded pair, and a young adult Madagascar were sold by an online fish store several week ago. Sources reveal that another bonded pair is going up for sale soon.

    The Madagascar Anemonefish (A. Latifasciatus) is a rare Clownfish, not seen in the aquarium trade until this recent sale. The "True Madagascar" Anemonefish (A.Latifasciatus) can only be found on two tiny spots by the Island of Madagascar. I had the honor of visiting these two sites on several occasions to document and collect specimens for my private collection.

    The A. Allardi Clownfish/Anemonefish is more common in the waters around Madagascar and sometimes mistaken for Latifasciatus. To most Clownfish enthusiast, mistaking A. Allardi for A Latifasciatus seem unlikely, yet you may have already read about some of these misidentification on the internet. The Allardis found around the waters of Madagascar and the Comoro Islands can be quite easily mistaken for Madagascars by most (see photo above).


    For this reason Clownfish field and identification experts have labeled A.Latifasciatus "The True Madagascar Anemonefish".
    While there may be considerable variations within the species there are four definitive markers of Latifasciatus.

    These are 4 definitive markers of Latifasciatus:

    1) A wide middle band of 10 to 15 scales(usually closer to 15 scales) and generally running almost straight from top to bottom. If the band is not straight from top to bottom and narrowing occurs it would be acceptable provided this stays within the usual scale count of 10-15 scales , (see photos). The width of A. Latifasciatus' middle band is second only to A. Latezonatus (see photo below for comparison).


    Photo below; A. Latifasciatus
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    Photo below; A. Latezonatus

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    2) The caudal fin of Latifasciatus is forked with a slight emargination, ie: it is notched near the middle. This fin is never truncated.(see photo below) Older juveniles and sub adults may have caudal fins with a slight emargination without the fork.


    Top photo; A. Latifasciatus with slightly forked caudal fin. Bottom photo
    A. Latifasciatus with emarginate caudal fin.

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    This is not to be mistaken with the "fork-like caudal fin" sometimes seen on adult A.Bicinctus, A.Clarkii and some A.Chrysopterus. These are usually truncated but with a streamer-like/spike-like extension ( see photos below).


    Photos below (L) A. Bicinctus, (R) A. Chrysopterus with truncated caudal fin
    and streamer-like/spike-like extension)

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    The caudal fin coloration is generally yellow (all shades of yellow are acceptable), orange-brown, and generally has a semi translucent appearance, and may have a white coloration running the top edge of the caudal fin and sometimes the entire length of the fin, or a diffused patch of white at the forward top edge of the fin. White edging sometimes occurs on top back edges of the dorsal fin also (see photos below).

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    3) Body coloration varies from a dull pale orange/yellow base color in sub adults to brown orange and matte orange base color in adults. Overlaying the base color is often a dark brown to black color.

    Black coloration, when present, is seldom so over powering as to give it the appearance of a black Clarkii or Allardi.


    Photo below; (L) A. Allardi......................................... (R) A. Clarkii
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    4) Scalation is large enough to be clearly visible, as opposed to a smooth rubbery look. This large scalation often give markings a “pixilated” look.


    Photo below; A. Latifasciatus.
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    Photos below show other variations of Madagascar Clownfish

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    Photos courtesy: Dr. Allen, ibluewater, Terry S.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 7, 2011
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  3. Corailline

    Corailline Super Moderator Staff Member

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    It is a dry heat, yeah right !
    This is an excellent informative write up.

    Thank you very much for sharing. ;D
     
  4. Zumaboy

    Zumaboy Astrea Snail

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    You're very welcome, the opportunity to share is greatly appreciated.
     
  5. TheSaltwaterGuy

    TheSaltwaterGuy Banned

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    Very interesting; nice job!
     
  6. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Thank you for the great article! Very interesting indeed - do you happen to know what type of anemone the True Madagascar clownfish favors?
     
  7. Zumaboy

    Zumaboy Astrea Snail

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    Thank you............:)
     
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  9. Zumaboy

    Zumaboy Astrea Snail

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    To the best of my knowledge I know these species of Anemone inhabit the waters of East Africa; Entacmaea Quadricolor, Heteractis Aurora, Heteractis Magnifica and Stichodactyla Mertensii.
    The True Madagascar Anemonefish/Clownfish appeares to favor
    Stichodactyla Mertensii and Entacmaea Quadricolor.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. SkyFire

    SkyFire Clown Trigger

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    Great write up and info...Thanks.
     
  11. Matt Rogers

    Matt Rogers Kingfish Staff Member

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    Good to know! Thanks for the follow up. What did the pair sell for by the way?
     
  12. Zumaboy

    Zumaboy Astrea Snail

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    Unfortunately the prices for The True Madagascar Anemonefish (A. Latifasciatus) is still prohibitively expensive, that pair sold for $4,500.