The Zombie Clownfish is one of the first commercially available domesticated clownfish strains to be available sporting the red eye trait. Unlike the multitude of clownfish strains which generally have a variation of the white bar coloration, either through its amplification or suppression, the newly announced ORA Zombie Clownfish is a totally different kind of Amphiprion mutant.
The ‘saga’ of the Zombie clownfish began over seven years ago when two red eyed fish were discovered in a clutch of Darwin black ocellaris clownfish. These two clowns with rosy glasses also sported an unusual light body coloration almost like they wanted to be albino clownfish but not quite the total lack of black, hypomelanism, that we expect from true albinos.
The Tangerine Clownfish from Sustainable Aquatics was likely the first red eye clownfish but besides the color of the eye, it was an otherwise pretty normal looking fish. The lightening of the overall body coloration of ORA’s Zombie Clownfish is a big part of their appeal as they experience a gradual change in their body color as they grow and mature.
Although the zombie clownfish are technically black ocellaris clownfish, their unique mutation suppresses the black coloration, almost completely when they are young, resulting in an oddly light orange, almost merigold coloration. Only the outer margin of the fins seem to still express a small degree of black coloration, but the fish becomes darker as it gets bigger, developing into a coloration similar to the blood orange at first, and then converges on an oddly wine-red color when they are pretty much mature.
Like with other clownfish strains, we suspect that the darkening of the clownfish’s overall coloration has some relation to the brightness of the light to which they are exposed, and especially the UV spectrum. However this exposure to light only serves to accelerate the development of ‘darker’ coloration so you probably won’t end up with a truly zombified, pallid colored ghost of a zombie clownfish by keeping it in the dark.
In a rare move ORA has telegraphed what’s next on their roadmap following the introduction of the Zombie Clownfish. Naturally they’ve started experimenting with remixing theirs Zombies with snowflakes with interesting results; the name isn’t set yet but some popular candidates include the Snow Zombie or the White Walker, either of which would be fun, but we look forward to seeing these for ourselves, along with the Zombie Clownfish as they begin trickling to ORA dealers everywhere. [ORA]