The ocellaris clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris), also known as the false percula clownfish or common clownfish, is a marine fish belonging to the family Pomacentridae, which includes clownfishes and damselfishes. Amphiprion ocellaris are found in different colours, depending on where they are located. For example, black Amphiprion ocellaris with white bands can be found near northern Australia, Southeast Asia, and Japan. Orange or red-brown Amphiprion ocellaris also exist with three similar white bands on the body and head. Amphiprion ocellaris can be distinguished from other Amphiprion species based on the number of pectoral rays and dorsal spines. Amphiprion ocellaris are known to grow about 110 mm long. Like many other fish species, females are, however, larger than males. The life cycle of Amphiprion ocellaris varies in whether they reside at the surface or bottom of the ocean. When they initially hatch, they reside near the surface. However, when Amphiprion ocellaris enter into the juvenile stage of life, they travel down to the bottom to find shelter in a host anemone. Once they find their anemone, they form a symbiotic relationship with them.
The species Amphiprion ocellaris belongs to the class Actinopterygii which contains bony Teleost fish and other ray-finned fish. A. ocellaris is the most basal species in the genus Amphiprion which is closely related to the genus Premnas. The species’ most closely related ancestor is Amphiprion percula, the orange clownfish. It is thought that A. ocellaris specialized after diverging from the genus Premnas, and scientific evidence confirms that all clownfish belonging to the genus Amphiprion initially could withstand the stings of only one type of anemone. After further speciation the 28 different species of clownfish including A. ocellaris have specialized to be able to resist the poisonous stings of many different anemone species.
This species is found in the Eastern Indian Ocean and in the western Pacific Ocean. As mentioned earlier, they can also be found in Northern Australia, Southeast Asia and Japan.
Queues is the term for social groups of A. ocellaris. This is because these fish form social hierarchies, or social rank, by outliving the more dominant members of the group. The dominant pair of each queue reproduces more compared to the subordinate fishes. This is the reason for why these individuals should adopt various tactics in which they increase their probability of attaining social dominance. There are two types of A. ocellaris, settlers and switchers. Settlers prefer shorter queues, while switchers will usually move after settlement. However, studies show that there is no difference in the characteristics between switchers and non-switchers, and there is no data demonstrating that A. ocellaris utilize the switching tactic for dominance. Although settlement preferences increase the likelihood of gaining social dominance, switching could have the function of increasing social dominance benefits after social dominance has been acquired.
All anemonefish are protandrous hermaphrodites, meaning they first develop into males and may become females later in life. Anemonefish exhibit phenotypic plasticity when males, females, and juveniles inhabit the same anemone. In an anemonefish social group, the female is the dominant and largest member, followed by the dominant male, while other anemonefish remain non-reproductive.