Amphiprion cf latifasciatus “Whitemargin”

Common Name: Whitemargin Anemonefish

Scientific Name: Amphiprion cf latifasciatus

Distribution: Northeast Madagascar—Masoala National Park, Mananara Avaratra, Nosy Boraha (Île Sainte-Marie), Nosy Alanana (Île aux Prunes). Possibly straying to Mayotte.

Type Locality: n/a

Identification: Two stripes, the middle stripe greatly enlarged and often with dark scales in the dorsal portion giving a pixelated it a look. Body orange; darkened dorsally. Fins bright orange, margined with white on the caudal fin and soft dorsal fin.

Similar: This unique species has been confused with the true A. latifasciatus from the northeast of Madagascar, which differs in having a solidly yellow caudal and dorsal fin. The width of the middle stripe in A. latifasciatus is typically several scale rows narrower.

Notes: This species has one of the most restricted distributions in the genus, occurring in a series of scattered reefs along the northeast coast of Madagascar, which totals roughly 200 miles of coastline. The currents in this region are westerly and extend over the northern tip of the island towards Mayotte. It is possible that there are additional populations in some of the poorly explored reefs in this region (e.g. Nosy Ankao), and a specimen said to have been observed in the south of Mayotte clearly shows this white-margined phenotype.

This species has recently been targeted for the aquarium trade by collectors based in Toamasina. Given the limited reef habitat in the region, coupled with the low abundance this species likely has and what is presumed to be a limited connectivity to populations further north (the current flows in a strong northerly direction here), there is concern that regular collecting could lead to some localized reduction in its numbers.