How does this organism reproduce and grow?

The Amphiprion percula reproduce sexually.  They normally spawn for half an hour to two hours where the eggs are fertilized externally.  This process where of external fertilization requires the female fish passes over the nest releasing anywhere from a 100 to 1,000 eggs (based on the females age and size), followed by the male who coats them with sperm.  Each egg is approximately 3-4mm in length (Boyer).  Also these eggs are whitish-orange because they contain a lot of carotenoids and other pigments (Yasir 2007). 

During incubation the male mouths and fans the eggs to remove debris and dead eggs to allow for the living eggs to receive more oxygen.  Also during this time the male is protecting the nest, but the main protection comes from the anemone’s stinging tentacles, produced by nematocysts organelle in a cnidocyte, that drape the nest.   This period of incubation normally takes a week (ZipCodeZoo, 2012).

After incubation occurs, the eggs release a larval form of the fish to the surface of the ocean via phototaxis (Boyer).  The fish use phototaxis to orient themselves to the light and swim towards it just like how plants grow towards the sun.  There they spend a week on the surface eating plankton (ZipCodeZoo, 2012).

At 8-12 days after hatching from incubation the juvenile Amphiprion percula settle to the bottom and start acclimatizing to their environment (Boyer).  During this they develop a mucus coating to help protect them from the stinging tentacles of the anemone from the cnidocytes and their nematocysts organelles.  For more information on how the black finned clownfish interacts through reproduction with the anemone, check out our interactions page.  Even though they develop this mucus it is still stung many times before becoming completely acclimatized (ZipCodeZoo, 2012).  Even if they are acclimatized to the anemone, they still may have other difficulties in obtaining food as shown on our nutrition page (click on the hyperlink for more information).

Does our fish require specific conditions to reproduce?

This fish has habitats in tropical waters that are generally warmer year round.  The warm water is a condition they need that allows them to breed.  Since they receive warm weather year round they are also able to reproduce year round (Tree of Life web project). 

Who mates?

The Amphiprion percula mate in social groups, consisting of a breeding pair followed by a few non-breeding fish.  The largest fish in the group is the female that mates with the second largest fish in the group which is the mating male (Boyer).  Then there are anywhere from zero to four non-mating fish in the group that are generally not as big in size (ZipCodeZoo, 2012). 

Also to note these fish have a monogamous relationship meaning that they only reproduce with one another.   They also clean the nest together where their eggs will rest before they hatch.  As the eggs rest in the nest and are vulnerable to predators the male often watches over them (ZipCodeZoo,2012). 

Protandrous Hermaphrodites

Amphiprion percula are characterized as being protandrous hermaphrodites (Boyer).  In this scenario, if the largest female fish in the anemone dies then the largest male transforms into her role as the mating female of the group (Yasir 2007).  This female of the group controls other males through her dominance so they don’t transform into females themselves (ZipCodeZoo, 2012).