SFC Super Yellow Percula Is A Hot New Clownfish

by | Dec 4, 2018 | Fish | 0 comments

The continued guppification of the clownfish shows no sign of slowing down, and now there’s an interesting new color variety to add to the mix. Similan Farm Clownfish—a Thailand-based fish breeder that seems to specialize in all things Amphiprion—recently shared a tantalizing clip of their “Super Yellow Percula”, a variant that features an intriguing mix of phenotypic traits.

Most obviously, this fish completely lacks the characteristic white bars of a clownfish. “Naked Clownfish” have become a relatively common captive-bred variant, but they tend to have a considerable amount of black in their fins, identical to their wild-type counterparts. In these SFC clowns, we see the black submarginal bands developed only in the pectoral fins, with just a trace of pigmentation found in the pelvic, anal, and caudal fins. With a bit more selective breeding, this unwanted trait can likely be made to disappear entirely. Such amelanistic specimens are known as “Tangerine Clowns”.

A combination of these Naked and Tangerine morphs seems to have only been documented once before in the aquarium trade. Remarkably, rather than having been forged in captivity, a single wild-caught specimen of this ultra-rare phenotype was collected from Indonesia and subsequently made its way into the possession of a prolific Hong Kong aquarist, Dr. Chung Wing Hung. But it’s unclear if anything ever became of that specimen or if it might have any relation to SFC’s breeding stock.

The creation of a solidly orange clownfish—one lacking any vestige of the wild-type patterning—has long been a holy grail among breeders. In recent years, the general trend has been in the opposite direction, with newly introduced morphs showing increasing amounts of black and white across the body. The list of named variants goes on and on into eternity… DaVinci, Super DaVinci, Mocha Storm, Black Storm, Black Ice, Black Lightning, Snowflake, Frostbite, Picasso, Super Picasso, Beethoven, Mozart, Gladiator, Mocha Gladiator, Nebula, Phantom… and whatever the hell a Juggalo Clown is (*gags*).

I’m sure I’m forgetting about a thousand more of these silly names, but the fish in question all look more or less interchangeable—a bit of black here, a squiggle of white there. Which is why there’s something refreshing about the (nearly) unblemished beauty of SFC’s Super Yellow. Unlike the gaudy abstractions which have taken over the world of designer clownfish, this new morph feels like something genuinely innovative. It’s as if the clownfish has at long last been distilled down into its purest form.

  • Joe Rowlett

    Joe is classically trained in the zoological arts and sciences, with a particular focus on the esoterica of invertebrate taxonomy and evolution. He’s written for several aquarium publications and for many years lorded over the marinelife at Chicago’s venerable Old Town Aquarium. He currently studies prairie insect ecology at the Field Museum of Natural History and fish phylogenetics at the University of Chicago.


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