Sea & Reef led the news on the designer clownfish front this month with a new genetic combination, their introduction of the Wide Bar Mocha Gladiator. Wide Bar Gladiator (a mouthful of a name perhaps) is a genetic trait found in the standard orange Ocellaris, brought to market by C-Quest “back in the day”. It was basically lost and/or forgotten, long overshadowed by Picasso Perculas and later Fancy Whites (aka. Gladiators). That said, Sea & Reef Aquaculture managed to bring this form back into production, giving this mutation gene a second chance to make a good impression.
Initially I thought there was a connection between the Wide Bar Gladiator genetic, and the mutation we generally know as Fancy White / DaVinci, because the actually original name for that gene (which is also responsible for Wyoming Whites) was in fact “Gladiator”. Furthermore, Sustainable Aquatics’ “Vivid Fancy”, a form out of their Fancy White breeding, does seem to have a wider mid-stripe. Were these the same thing? Soren Hansen cleared it up.
“The Wide Bar Gladiator phenotype is separate from the DaVinci phenotype and is it’s one stable line. Bill Addison created the Wide Bar Gladiators first and also named them.” When asked about the inheritance / expression of this gene, Soren was very direct. “Definitely dominant.” Here’s an example of a traditional wild-type Ocellaris Clownfish, and the Wide Bar Gladiator version (the one that has the mutant gene).
There’s still more to be learned, but if we trust the info we’re given so far, this is yet another gene that can be added into the mix to create ever-more new and different forms of clownfish. And that’s exactly what Sea & Reef has done with the Wide Bar Mocha Gladiator clownfish. MOCHA clownfish are the interspecific (in my opinion) hybrid between a Darwin (Black) Ocellaris and the Orange Amphiprion ocellaris. But when you also include the wide bar genetics by using a Wide Bar Gladiator Ocellaris instead of the normal orange Ocellaris, 50% of the offspring are MOCHA, and 50% also get the wide bar gene, and thus, the Wide Bar Mocha Gladiator is created.
This is, incidentally, the same way that Black Ice / S’more clownfish were created (using the Snowflake Gene in Orange Ocellaris). Ultimately, Sea & Reef is aiming to produce Wide Bar Black Ocellaris; the Wide Bar Mocha Gladiator is just the first step necessary to get the wide bar gene into the “Black Ocellaris” population.
Of course, we could very well see “Wide Bar Snowflakes”, “Longfin Wide Bar Mocha” and a whole slew of genetic mutations and hybridizations in the future. At the end of the day, the growing understanding of mutations and hybridization in our domestic clownfish stocks will very much make them the true Guppies of the Marine Aquarium, but from a breeding standpoint, there will come a time, with enough transparency, that a true mastery of the raw materials develops and the fish become the “living canvas” upon which a breeder can paint his latest combination of genes and parentage. Midnight Lightning Clownfish anyone? (It’s already been done BTW, and has no relation to the Lightning Maroon..but I’ll save that for another day).
I think we should probably drop the “Gladiator” portion of the Wide Bar Gladiator name if only because it causes some confusion and makes the name a mouthful. Wide Bar makes perfect sense on it’s own…we all know what it means…wider bars than normal! C-Quest’s legacy of discovery won’t every be in dispute.