When we think of hybrids we imagine extremely rare one-off specimens of an unlikely cross between two closely related species from the same genus. In most of theses cases the parents are pretty similar looking but this recently collected hybrid clownfish is a rare cross between a tomato clownfish Amphiprion frenatus and a maroon clownfish, Premnas biaculeatus. These two clownfish belonging to different genera look superficially similar but they have pretty different body shapes and very different mating behaviors.
If you’ve seen Julian Sprung’s reef fish hybridizing talk you’ll probably conclude like us that this fish is the result of accidental cross-fertilization. Like the accidental hybrids that frequently arose at ORA we believe this cross-generic clownfish hybrid was the result of pairs of maroon clownfish and tomato clownfish spawning in close proximity and around the same time so that the sperm of one parent drifted over to fertilize eggs in the nest of the other parent.
Although these tomato-maroon clownfish are sometimes seen as juveniles in shipments of reef fish from the Northern Philippines, this large adult collected by RVS Fishworld is a rare look at what those resulting hybrid fish look like. We’re not particularly huge fans of tomato or maroon clownfish but the large showy body and bright orange head of this individual is actually impressive, and could make for a super nice display animal in a fish aquarium.