beautiful anemonefish with a white 'head band' is not as commonly
seen. It lives in the Bubble
tip sea anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor) which is not very
commonly encountered, usually on good reefs on our Southern shores.
Features: 5-14cm. Red to black
with one black-edged white bar just behind the eyes. There may be
a second black-edged white bar in the middle of the body. Juveniles
are usually red and may have 2-3 narrow white bars. Females have blackish
sides while males are a lot smaller and lack the blackish colour being
mostly red overall.
What does it eat? It feeds on
plankton (mostly copepods) and also munches on bottom-dwelling algae.
Human uses: Unfortunately, these
fishes are taken in large numbers from the wild for the aquarium trade.
The harvest may involve the use of cyanide or blasting, which damage
the habitat and kill many other creatures. Like other fish and creatures
harvested from the wild, most die before they can reach the retailers.
Without professional care, most die soon after they are sold. Often
of starvation as owners are unable to provide the small creatures
and plants that these fishes need to survive. In artificial conditions,
many succumb to diseases and poor health. Those that do survive are
unlikely to breed.
There have been some success in breeding anemonefish for the aquarium
trade. Although captive bred anemonefish are hardier, they are more
expensive. Harvesting from the wild will probably continue so long
as there are unscrupulous traders and aquarists.
Status and threats: The Tomato
anemonefish is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of threatened
animals of Singapore. Like other creatures of the intertidal zone,
they are affected by human activities such as reclamation and pollution.
Over-collection can also have an impact on local populations. According
to the Singapore Red Data Book, "habitat protection and strict
policing against illegal collection are required" to conserve
Kusu Island, Aug 04
Terumbu Raya, Jul 09
shared by James Koh on his
anemonefishes on Singapore shores
photos of tomato anemonefishes on Singapore shores
G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore
Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore.
Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
- Allen, Gerry,
Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers.
Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
- Lieske, Ewald
and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral
Reef Fishes of the World
Periplus Editions. 400pp.
- Lim, S.,
P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life
and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of
Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology,
the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.