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Old 09-04-2008, 01:40 PM   #11
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True percs have 10 droasl spines while false (Amphiprion ocellaris) have 11. The black margins are quite thin compared to Amphiprion percula.

Judging from those pics the top right is A. percula and the left pic is A. ocellaris.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:19 PM   #12
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Well, here's my two cents worth on finding (true) Nemo. I don't see a problem with the photos. The two A. perculas look correctly identified (though I'm no pomacentrid expert). I think there may be a little confusion on how wide the black lines should be. From the photos in several books I have by Gerry Allen (the ichthyologist who first noted that there were two different species involved), the lines when present in A. ocellaris are very narrow (except in a melanistic form from NW Australia, which lacks any orange between the white bars - the areas between the bars are entirely black). They do not have to be really broad to make it an A. percula.

Here's the key couplet (number 16) from Gerry's 1975 (2nd ed.) of "Anemonefishes", which was based on his PhD work on the group:

16a. Dorsal spines almost always XI (occasionally X); length of tallest dorsal spine 2.1 to 2.9 in head length; pectoral rays usually 17; area between bars usually pale except in melanistic specimens from northern Australia (northern Australia; Malayan-Indonesian region; eastern Indian Ocean; Philippines; So. China Sea; Ryukyus; southern Japan) .... ocellaris

16b. Dorsal spines IX or X (usually X); length of tallest dorsal spine 3.0-3.4 in head length; pectoral rays usually 16; areas between bars frequently blackish (New Caledonia; New Hebrides; Solomon Islands; New Guinea; Queensland) .... percula

The interesting thing to note is that he alludes to more overlap in characters than is usually acknowledged (particularly with regard to the black edging). I have several subsequent publications by Gerry, and aside from updating the names of localities (and clarifying "northern Australia" for A. ocellaris to "northwestern Australia") there is isn't a lot of change in the diagnoses. Well, that's except for his contribution to the 2001 FAO Species Identification Guide for the Western Central Pacific where I think the editors screwed up. (There are two illustrations for each species, a light variety and a dark variety illustration each for A. ocellaris, and a typical and "Melanesia variety" for A. percula. Unfortunately, they incorrectly re-used the light variety illustration of A. ocellaris as the illustration of typical A. percula!)

And now to throw the cat among the pigeons: I'm not sure whether these characters will work very well for captive bred fish, given the possible effects of inbreeding and possible trait selection by breeders. (There's now an astounding amount of variation in captive bred individuals of the related A. biaculeatus, presumably because breeders are selecting for various colour patterns.) Certainly I could imagine that the colour patterns may not be that representative in captive bred fish, and I doubt anyone has looked at the remaining characters to see if they are now more variable. (I've seen this in other captive bred species.) Moreover, given the difficulty in identifying the two species, it would not even surprise me if some of the captive bred individuals were hybrids between the two species because breeders did not correctly identify their brood stock.

Tony
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:29 PM   #13
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ummmmm....Welcome to the forum! hahaha
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:40 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chisel View Post
Are you sure?
99.9% - the one on the left looks exactly like the O.Clown I have. Exactly. While the black bands are a little thicker, that doesn't make it a Percula.

Quote:
I see an aweful lot of online stores with pics of true percs looking like the one on the left.
It doesn't surprise me... you can get more $ for true percs.
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:39 PM   #15
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Thanks Tony. Now I'm utterly .
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:24 PM   #16
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Ours look just like the picture on the left of the ones of the True Perc. My wife still says that they are false. Weíll try to get good enough pics to count the dorsal fins and post some. Swfanatic69, they both are beautiful and my family just loves the shimmy dance that they do, my wife thinks its cute. Thanks for all the advice so far. As I said any and all comments and advice are welcome.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:38 PM   #17
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Sorry to muddy the water - but I think it was pretty muddy already! I still think the left figure is a real A. percula (based on comparisons with the literature I have), but acknowledge this depends on whether it's a juvenile or not. However, the colour characters are not as clear cut as they might appear, and I think too much emphasis may have been placed on them. If you check out photos of wild caught (or photographed) individuals from known localities you can get an idea of how fuzzy the distinction is. For example, if you look at the wild fish on FishBase (Fish: Search FishBase), you can get an idea of how little difference there is in the width of the black edging in some individuals of the two species. (Please ignore the painting of "A. ocellaris" - it looks like it was intended to represent A. percula and got associated with the wrong account. I just queried FishBase about that.) The other thing to note (particularly in Jack Randall's photo-tank shots, where the fins are set in an upright position) is that the spiny dorsal height does seem to work okay, but you need to have fish side-by-side to appreciate the difference. It's worth a shot though if you can get your fish to sit still long enough for comparison!

In any case, a photo would be good - particularly one that allowed the spines to be counted (a little backlighting would help) and the fin height to be evaluated.

Tony
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:30 PM   #18
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See what I started?

Could Marine Depot be wrong??

http://www.marinedepotlive.com/ps_Vi...~LFCLTPES.html
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:43 AM   #19
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Yes - any vendor can be wrong. Shoot... I see DrFosterSmith sell corals sometimes that are misidentified!

I'm not discounting what Tony is saying by any means. He's saying you can't judge it based only on coloration, and I agree. Shoot... after reading that post and taking some shots of my clownfish and studying them, I now question what I have. The question I have is when you start and end counting dorsal spines! Towards the rear end of the fish, it gets a little tricky!

But generally... GENERALLY... the coloration that is shown in that left picture is normally associated with a false perc. I suppose it could be a variant, or just a juvenile that hasn't really grown into its stripes yet, but the majority of the time I think you're safe to assume that coloration is a false perc.

In the end... it really doesn't matter. They both are treated the same as far as food and living conditions go.
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:34 AM   #20
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OK, that all seems fine by me - I'm only going on the literature I have access to, and don't have the aquarium experience with A. ocellaris that you guys have. (When I kept marines back in Australia in the 70s and 80s, A. percula was the common clownfish!) As for counting dorsal-fin spines, this can be difficult, particularly at the back of the fin where they may become relatively slender and easily confused with the segmented rays. Having the fins backlit can make a huge difference, though (even if the photo no longer shows much of the coloration). Also, a little experience with the species can make it much easier, as you can easily estimate where the spiny portion of the fin ends, even if you can't quite make it out. I often use x-rays as an aid when doing spine and ray counts in my research - in dottybacks it's often the start of the fin that's hard to make out (at least in species with very slender spines, such as Pseudoplesiops species). In any case, I'd be happy to help out with checking counts if anyone wants to post photos. I have a few preserved specimes of both species in our museum which I can refer to as an aid.

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