The percula clownfish (Amphiprion percula) is a popular aquarium fish, even more so after it rose to stardom in Finding Nemo. Like other clownfish (also called anemonefish), it often lives in association with the sea anemone Heteractis magnifica, using them for shelter and protection. Although popular, maintaining this species in captivity is rather complex. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority have issued large numbers of collecting permits to aquarium fish dealers, whose ranks have swelled as a result of increased demand due to the movie.
The commensalism between anemonefish and anemones depends on the presence of the fish drawing other fish to the anemone, where they are stung by its poisonous tentacles. The anemone helps the fish by giving it protection from predators, which include brittle stars, wrasses, and other damselfish, and the fish helps the anemone by feeding it, increasing oxygenation, and removing waste material from the host. Studies carried out at Marineland of the Pacific by Dr. Demorest Davenport and Dr. Kenneth Noris in 1958 revealed that the mucus secreted by the anemone fish prevented the anemone from discharging its lethal stinging nematocysts. The fish feeds on algae, zooplankton, worms, and small crustaceans.
This clown anemonefish can be recognised by its orange colour with three white bars and black markings on the fins. It grows to about eight cm in length. This species can be mistaken for the similar species called false clown anemonefish due to its color and pattern - the "easiest" way to tell them apart is the fact that percula has 10 spines in the first dorsal fin and ocellaris has 11.