Amphiprion polymnus

Common Name: Indonesian Saddleback Anemonefish

Scientific Name: Amphiprion polymnus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Distribution: Indonesia, from Java Sea and Bali east to Raja Ampat and north to Southern Mindanao. Rarely reported from Cebu and Samal, Philippines.

Type Locality: “Indiis”

Identification: Caudal fin black, with white margins. Middle stripe reaches belly; normally similar in width to anterior stripe. Posterior stripe present. Body and fins black.

Similar: Often confused with melanistic A. cf clarkii, though the black caudal fin and white dorsal fin margin are easily diagnostic. The black body, well-formed middle stripe and presence of a posterior stripe allow for separation from others in the polymnus group.

Notes: Described by Linnaeus, this species was long mired in taxonomic confusion. The type locality is listed simply as “Indiis”, which can be presumed to mean Indonesia, probably somewhere near Ambon in the Banda Sea.

Known to form mixed-species pairs with A. sebae at Bali and A. annamensis in Cebu.

The scientific name polymnus is from Greek Mythology. Polymnus was “a man of Argos (Southern Greece) who showed Dionysus the way to the underworld. In return for his help, he asked the god to lie with him, but, when the god came back to fulfill the pledge, he found the man had passed away and so instead employed a wooden phallus upon the grave.” It’s unlikely that this fanciful story has any great significance with regards to this particular species, as it was common practice by early European zoologists to name taxa after mythological figures.


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