Amphiprion cf chrysopterus “Vanuatu”

Common Name: Vanuatu Bluestripe Anemonefish

Scientific Name: Amphiprion cf chrysopterus

Distribution: Vanuatu. May also occur in New Caledonia.

Type Locality: n/a

Identification: Caudal fin white; dorsal fin orange, pelvic and anal fins black. Body mostly black. Two relatively thin stripes, often tinged blue. The anterior stripe is often unconnected dorsally.

Similar: Identical to the true A. chrysopterus of Micronesia, distinguished here mostly from biogeography and possibly from a thinner, disconnected anterior stripe. Highly similar to the African A. allardi, but that species has a more darkly colored head and an orange patch present on the caudal peduncle. In the Mariana Islands and Fijian ecoregion, A. cf chrysopterus has a yellow caudal fin. In other parts of Melanesia, A. cf chrysopterus has black ventral fins. In Polynesia, A. cf chrysopterus has thinner stripes and a lighter body, as well as a yellow caudal fin.

Notes: This population is poorly documented, and it isn’t clear if it is distinct from the Micronesian A. chrysopterus, which is presumed to range as closely as the Gilbert Islands and Tuvalu. Vanuatu tends to have endemic species in other anemonefish groups, but, as the chrysopterus group is a Central Pacific (vs West Pacific) lineage, this may not be relevant for understanding its evolutionary history. Genetic study is needed.