Amphiprion papuensis

Common Name: Papuan Anemonefish

Scientific Name: Amphiprion papuensis Macleay 1883

Distribution: Cenderawasih, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, rarely Queensland.

Type Locality: D’Entrecasteaux Group, New Guinea

Identification: Caudal fin bright yellow in both sexes, obscuring most or all of the posterior stripe. Dorsal fin rays bright yellow, lighter than dorsal fin spines. Amelanistic morph often with limited black on side, the base coloration being bright orange. Melanistic morph with dorsal fin rays yellow, sometimes only along tips. Medial stripe typically wide.

Similar: The Vanuatu/New Caledonia A. cf clarkii is nearly identical but appears to differ in that the melanistic form retains some yellow in the anal fin. Oftentimes, the ventral fins are entirely without black, but this seems variable and may not be reliably diagnostic. Amelanistic individuals are likely impossible to reliably differentiate without knowing the origin. The local A. cf chrysopterus is often confused, but it has dark ventral fins, an entirely orange dorsal fin and a white caudal fin.

Notes: Usually treated as synonymous with A. clarkii, but coloration distinct from that species (restricted to the Indian Ocean). May hybridize with the true Barrier Reef Anemonefish Amphiprion cf clarkii. Appears to be absent form West Papua, but more study is needed to confirm this. Rarely seen in aquarium exports, but one of the most beautiful species in the highly diverse clarkii group.

Taxonomy Note: This species was treated as a synonym of Amphiprion clarkii in Allen 1991 and subsequent references. The elevation to full species status used in this classification should be considered provisional until a full taxonomic revision is published.