Amphiprion leucokranos is a coveted hybrid-species of clownfish which is only very rarely available, usually from the Solomon Islands. But if you made it to MACNA 2014 this weekend you could have seen a display with half a dozen of the first captive bred white cap clownfish in the world in the ORA booth display aquarium.
The white cap clownfish, Amphiprion leucokranos, is one of the rarest clownfish “species” with a sort of mythology surrounding it, it’s only fitting that ORA’s captive bred fish would have an equally fitting story. If you’ll recall the parents which spawned this generation of F1 crossed A. leucokranos were donated to ORA but spent over a week lost in transit. Thankfully the two adult white cap clownfish were recovered and began spawning later last year.
It is widely assumed that the white cap clownfish is a first generation hybrid cross between the orange skunk clownfish, A. sandaracinos, and the bluestripe clownfish, A. chrysopterus. In hybrid backcrosses you would would expect to see some offspring that looked one of the parent species, but all of ORA’s offspring from the F1 cross of white cap to white cap clownfish resulted in more typical looking white cap clownfish.
We have to wonder if the white cap clownfish is indeed in the process of speciating through a hybridizing scenario and perhaps ORA’s broodstock is already the result of a few generations of A. leucokranos mating in the wild. There’s a high degree of variability in ORA’s captive bred white cap clownfish, some of them have the white cap, some of them just have a cheek stripe and lots of them have both a white cap and a partial cheek stripe.
This is not the first time that A. leucokranos has been raised in captivity but this is the first time they’ve been raised in a commercial quantity. Expect an announcement from ORA about the availability of their captive bred white cap clownfish which should clock in much cheaper than their wild-caught counterparts.