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156. Mauritian Anemonefish (Amphiprion chrysogaster) sex change


An encounter with an Anemonefish, endemic to the Mascareignes islands. The Mauritian Anemonefish (Amphiprion chrysogaster) inhabits the coastal waters of Mauritius and La Réunion, and lives like all Anemonefish in a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones.

The brownish colouration is a typical feature for individuals of this species that live in a Magnificent Sea Anemone (Heteractis magnifica) like in this clip. Individuals that live in a Carpet Anemone (Genus Stichodactyla) are black. This colour change and why it occurs is explained in more detail in our vlog post number 116 (see link below).

Besides changing color depending on the anemone’s species, they can also undergo a sex change. Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites. All clownfish are born as males, and at a later stage in life, if all conditions are favorable, they change sex and become females. This type of sequential hermaphroditism is called protandrous hermaphrodites. Protandrous comes from the combination of “proto” (first) and “androus,” which means male.

Clownfishes, also known as anemonefishes, live in a social group in and around an anemone, dominated by a large single female. All other members of this group are males in different stages of their lives, from small juveniles to large individuals and a single mature male. Their entire social hierarchy is based on size and consequently age. If, for whatever reason, the dominant female dies, then the largest (most likely the eldest) male will take her place and automatically undergo a sex change. On the other hand, the now largest male will become mature and form a couple with the newly metamorphosed female. The new couple is now able to breed and provide offspring.

The sex change is first noticeable in the behaviour of the new leader. Before, when "she" was a "he," he was used to taking orders from the female. Now, as a female, she begins to show her dominance over the males of the group. Over the course of several days, the brain develops hormones that initiate the sex change on an anatomical level. Once the whole change is complete, the female is able to lay eggs and reproduce. However, the males are the caretakers of the eggs and newborns.


Music and sounds are essential in film. Seemingly happy, moving fish are best accompanied by a joyful tune, while a dark and ominous tune can heighten the suspense in a thrilling picture. The right music can evoke a range of emotions in the audience, from joy and excitement to sadness and fear.

Sound effects also play a crucial role in the overall audio design of a film. The sound of crawling crustaceans, the fast movements of schooling fish, or even just the mundane noise of sand and gravel can add depth and realism to a scene. In fact, sound is often referred to as the "invisible art" of filmmaking because it can have such a profound impact on the audience's experience. When done well, the music and sound of a film can transport the viewer into another world and fully immerse them in the story being told.

To make the clip complete, we also added a matching sound when the anemone fish pinches one of the anemone’s tentacles.

Filming location:

This short underwater videoclip has been filmed in Mauritius 🇲🇺

More about this topic:

For a more in-depth description about the anemonefish colour change please visit vlog posts 116: https://www.beyondscuba.com/post/mauritian-a-amphiprion-chrysogaster-colour-change

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