A Maroonellaris is a hybrid clownfish cross between a maroon clownfish and an ocellaris clownfish. We generally don’t encourage hybridization in any kind of fish, but something about the genetic portmanteau of a big ole maroon clownfish and a slender orange common clownfish creates a truly unusual looking fish.
Hybrid clownfish abound in the wild, with Amphiprion leucokranos and A. thielli being recognized hybrid ‘species’. There is even the occasional trans-generic hybrid of Premnas and Amphiprion occasionally found in the wild, such as this really odd Tomatoroon clownfish.
But the aquarium hobby and its many breeders of marine fish have also produced maroon hybrids of their own. Bali Aquarich has been trickling out some of their Citron Clownfish, Sustainable Aquatics sells the Mai Tai Maroon Clownfish, and ORA has their own Blood Orange clownfish.
The very mature Maroonellaris pictured here was spotted at Aquatic Art Inc. in Colorado who received the fish from a tank tear down. It’s very common to get ‘used’ clownfish as fish store trade ins but it’s not everyday that clownfish is going to be a fully grown maroon & ocellaris hybrid, showing the full development of features of both species of fish.
The pleasant surprise of an unusual trade in at the fish store is a great opportunity for us to document the Maroonellaris hybrid when it is full grown. After reviewing the strains from all the major fish breeders who offer this type of cross, we believe that this fish is a fully grown Blood Orange Maroon hybrid cross.
Although the young fish show a beautiful red-orange coloration which is an even blend of its parents from different genera, it seems that the Premnas genetics have become dominant in this specimen. Maroon clownfish also start out life quite brightly colored, but they are known to become much somber in appearance as they get older, and their bars can also recede with age until they are tiny spots, or absent altogether.
It was a very nice surprise to see a hybrid maroon x ocellaris clownfish all grown up. The Maroonellaris looks at once very familiar, due to the blend of two common species, but it also looks completely alien since the shapes and the barring isn’t quite what we are familiar with in our mental image of all the various clownfish species.