Amphiprion milii

Common Name: Western Australian Anemonefish

Scientific Name: Amphiprion milii (Bory de Saint-Vincent, 1831)

Distribution: Western & Northern Australia, primarily from Houtman Abrolhos to the Dampier Archipelago, but scattered reports to as far north as Darwin.

Type Locality: Shark Bay, Western Australia

Identification: Caudal fin yellow. Body heavily darkened throughout, though many specimens display a lighter brown patch ABOVE the pectoral fin, extending into the anterior dorsal fin. Another variation, seemingly rare, has a more typical light patch beneath the pectoral fin and is dark elsewhere. The dorsal and ventral fins are otherwise dark in all specimens, even amelanistic individuals. Fully melanistic specimens are entirely dark. Stripes are relatively wide; the middle stripe is often asymmetrically bulged outwards.

Similar: Somewhat similar to the Rowley Shoals population, especially when fully melanistic, but the characteristic bulging middle stripe of the A. milii is quite recognizable.

Notes: The precise range of this fish is not well understood in the northern portions of Australia. It remains unknown east of Darwin, but it could be expected to occur in small numbers. The only other member of this species group with such pronounced melanism is A. snyderi from Ogasawara, though adults of that fish never display the brown dorsal patch commonly seen in A. milii.

This fish has been sporadically available in the aquarium trade as the “Australian Black Clark’s Clownfish”. Wild collected examples have originated form Ningaloo and Darwin, while captive bred individuals have appears from Sustainable Aquatics.

Named after French naval officer Pierre Bernard Milius, a lieutenant aboard the famed Baudin expedition which first mapped large parts of Australia in the early 19th century. Some 2,500 new species were described on this voyage, with A. milii discovered at Shark Bay, Western Australia.

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.