Western Clown Anemonefish, Amphiprion ocellaris Cuvier 1830

Other Names: Clownfish, False Clown Anemonefish

A Western Clown Anemonefish, Amphiprion ocellaris, at Dompu, Bima, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Indonesia. Source: Mark Rosenstein / iNaturalist. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

An orange to brownish anemonefish with  three distinctive white bars on the body. Differs from the very similar Amphiprion percula in having a taller dorsal fin and usually 11 dorsal-fin spines vs 10 spines in A. percula. The Western Clown Anemonefish also usually lacks the black margin around the white bars that is present in A. percula.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Amphiprion ocellaris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Jul 2021, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1275

Western Clown Anemonefish, Amphiprion ocellaris Cuvier 1830

More Info


Recorded in the Australian region from Yampi Sound, Western Australia, to Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory, and at Scott Reef , WA, and Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea. Elsewhere widespread in the East-Indo-west-Pacific.

Inhabits inshore and offshore reefs and lagoons, living in associatin with the sea anemones Heteractis magnifica, Stichodactyla gigantea and S. mertensii.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin X-XI, 13-17 (usually 11 spines); Anal fin II, 11-13; Pectoral fin 16-18; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 34-48; Gill rakers 15-17 (total first arch).


A protandrous hermaphrodite that lives in a small group comprising a breeding pair and several non-breeders. The female is the largest individuals, and her male partner is the second largest fish. If the female disappears, her male partner changes sex to become the breeding female, while the largest non-breeder becomes the breeding male.


In the 2003 animated film Finding Nemo, the main character is a Western Clown Anemonefish, Amphiprion ocellaris.

Similar Species

Differs from the very similar Amphiprion percula in having a taller dorsal fin and usually 11 dorsal-fin spines vs 10 spines in A. percula. A ocellaris also usually lacks the black margin around the white bars that is present in A. percula.

Species Citation

Amphiprion ocellaris Cuvier, 1830, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 5:  399. Type locality: Sumatra.


Dianne J. Bray

Western Clown Anemonefish, Amphiprion ocellaris Cuvier 1830


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Allen, G.R. 1991. Damselfishes of the World. Melle, Germany : Mergus Verlag 271 pp.

Allen, G.R. 1993. Reef Fishes of New Guinea. A Field Guide for Divers, Anglers and Naturalists. Christensen Research Institute. No. 8. Pp. 132. 

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Allsop, D.J. & S.A. West. 2003. Constant relative age and size at sex change for sequentially hermaphroditic fish. J. Evol. Biol. 16(2003): 921-929.

Arvedlund, M. & L.E. Nielsen. 1996. Do the anemonefish Amphiprion ocellaris (Pisces: Pomacentridae) imprint themselves to their host sea anemone Heteractis magnifica (Anthozoa: Actinidae)?. Ethology 102: 197-211.

Colleye O., Vandewalle P., Lanterbecq D., Lecchini D., Parmentier E. 2011. Interspecific variation of calls in clownfishes: degree of similarity in closely related species. BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 365.

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1830. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 5 499 pp. pls 100-140.

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Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp.

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Parmentier E, Colleye O, Mann D. 2009. Hearing ability in three clownfish species. Journal of Experimental Biology 212: 2023-2026.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R & R.C. Steene. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. 507 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37372025

Behaviour:Lives with sea anemones

Biology:Capable of changing sex

Depth:1-15 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:9.5 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map