Sometimes it seems like every fish we enjoy in our aquariums is bound to have a turn at exhibiting aberrant coloration, and this week’s freaky fish is this odd blackface bicinctus clownfish. Amphiprion bicinctus also known as the two-banded clownfish is an endemic of the Red Sea and its limited distribution results in very homogenized looking fish, kind of the opposite of the widespread Clark’s clownfish.
Since practically all wild-caught bicinctus clownfish look very similar, it is therefore doubly surprising to see an aberration of this species. The blackface bicinctus in question is remarkable in that it has an unusually dark colored face with the hypermelanism seemingly spreading into the anterior portions of all but the caudal fin.
Interestingly, captive bred specimens of Amphiprion bicinctus are all much darker than their wild caught counterparts. Despite their normally golden body color, perhaps bicinctus clownfish are sensitive to environmental triggers that stimulate dark pigmentation and our best guess for the origin of the blackface bicinctus clownfish is some form of physical trauma was the stimulus – but there’s really no way to tell.
What we do know for certain about the blackface bicinctus clownfish is that it ended up being shipped to Singapore where Reef Fish Editor Tea Yi Kai was able to create some fantastic images of both sides of this oddball Amphiprion. Mr. Blackface will be rehomed to the aquarium of a rare fish afficionado so perhaps in the future we’ll be updated on how this fish grows and changes over time.