Designer clownfish enthusiasts will have yet another new twist in the Gold Stripe Maroon category with the latest introduction from Fisheye Aquaculture – Pearl Eye Gold Flake Maroon Clownfish. This form was found in their “Super Sexy Goldflake” Maroon Clownfish breeding, which is also being sold into the market as Gold Rush Maroons (the name was changed to make it more family friendly than “super-sexy goldflake”).
The pearl-eye trait itself is not new to clownfish; it’s been seen for decades in fishes of the Clarkii-complex in at least three species (Amphiprion clarkii, A. bicinctus, and A. chrysopterus). The trait has gone by various names including white eye, white eyebrow, eye-liner and other permutations of the name.
Furthermore, this isn’t the first time that pearl-eye was seen in Goldflake Maroon Clownfish; the trait is clearly visible in the images of Mike Hoang’s Gold Flakes which we shared a couple years ago, although the actual image of a pearl eye goldflake wasn’t published in our coverage at the time (but was published here).
ORA is among the first to suggest there is a genetic basis for the pearl eye trait in general, but my jury is still out debating the merits. What was shared by Jonathan Foster of Fisheye Aquaculture is that they get very limited numbers of Pearl Eyes, perhaps only 3-5 per batch. Fisheye grades these fish, with “B” Grade having ONE eye Pearl, and “A” grade having both eyes with pearl markings. A-grade fish are incredibly rare, with only one in every-other batch meeting that benchmark.
Simply put, that make this fish “rare” among an already rarer group of offspring. It is unclear whether future breeding efforts will be able to improve the available quantities of Pearl Eye Maroon Clownfish.
So, for the record, Gold Rush Maroon = Gold Flake Maroon. Pearl Eye Goldflake Maroon = the latest commercially-available variation out of this line of breeding, and so far only being promoted by Fisheye Aquaculture. Whether other producers of Gold Flake Maroons are also seeing Pearl Eye offspring is not known at this time, but it would not be surprising given past history.
And perhaps the most interesting question – this mutation is being seen here on a Gold Stripe Maroon; will the eye-markings turn yellow as the fish matures? Time will tell.