Common Name: White Bonnet Anemonefish
Scientific Name: Amphiprion leucokranos Allen, 1973
Distribution: New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Halmahera
Type Locality: Kranket Island, Madang, New Guinea
Identification: Anterior stripe usually well developed, often merging with an abbreviated dorsal stripe, forming a “bonnet”. The precise pattern is highly variable, especially in apparent backcrosses. Fins and body brightly colored yellow-orange. Shape similar to a skunk anemonefish.
Similar: Much like the Orange Skunk Anemonefish (A. sandaracinos), which is one of its parent species. Backcrosses (i.e. leucokranos X sandaracinos) will often show little evidence of the namesake “bonnet” and may have a more-developed dorsal stripe.
Notes: This fish has been confirmed through genetic study (Litsios et al 2014) to be a hybrid of A. sandaracinos and A. cf chysopterus, though it’s possible that specimens observed in West Papua and Halmahera are actually a cross with the true A. chrysopterus. Some have argued that this could be an incipient species diverging through hybridization, as this is a somewhat commonly observed fish. This seems highly unlikely, as backcrossing with the parent species is apparently quite frequent, and no other anemonefish species seems to have originated in this manner.
Aquarium specimens are rather uncommon, but this fish has been captive bred by ORA. The resulting offspring were said to vary widely in shape, form some that resembled the elongate A. sandaracinos to others that looked more similar to the stocky shape of A. chrysopterus. The white patterning occurred along a gradient, with some showing the traditional vertical and dorsal “bonnet” to others that had just a small white dash along the top of the head, like a piscine yarmulke.