Amphiprion tricinctus

Common Name: Three-band Anemonefish

Scientific Name: Amphiprion tricinctus Schultz & Welander, 1953

Distribution: Marshall Islands

Type Locality: Amen Island, Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands

Identification: Caudal fin dark brown, nearly black. Three thin stripes; the posterior stripe sometimes mostly absent. Body colored a dull brown-orange, with dorsal darkening of variable extent. The anal fin can be either dark or yellow, perhaps dependent on the anemone being hosted. Melanistic individuals are entirely black.

Similar: Few other Amphiprion share the dark caudal fin of this species. The most likely source of confusion would be the Indonesian Saddleback Anemonefish, which also has a dark tail and three stripes, though that fish has these noticeably wider, as well as a white margin to the soft dorsal fin. The Mauritian Anemonefish also has a similar motif, but with a bright gold belly and ventral fins.

Notes: This appears to be one of the few species of coral reef fish that is truly endemic to the Marshall Islands, not having been reported from anywhere else in Micronesia. As the only member of the clarkii group with a dark caudal fin and the easternmost representative, one can’t help but wonder if this trait might be the result of some extreme genetic bottleneck or from hybridization. Interspecies pairs have been observed with the Bluestripe Anemonefish (A. chrysopterus). Aquarium specimens are quite uncommon.

For further in situ documentation of this species, an especially thorough collection of photographs has been curated at underwaterkwaj.

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