Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 327–331 | Cite as

Trying to find Nemo: low abundance of sea anemones and anemonefishes on central and southern mid-shelf reefs in the Great Barrier Reef

  • A. Scott
  • A. H. Baird
Short Communication


Information on the abundance of species targeted for the marine aquarium trade is needed to help elucidate what levels of exploitation may be sustainable. Accordingly, this study documents the abundance and diversity of anemonefishes and their host sea anemones, which are highly sought after in the trade, using timed swims at seven mid-shelf reefs on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Three species of anemone (Entacmaea quadricolor, n = 49; Heteractis magnifica, n = 7; Stichodactyla mertensii, n = 3), and five species of anemonefishes were found (Amphiprion akindynos, n = 12; A. perideraion, n = 29; A. melanopus, n = 11; Premnas biaculeatus, n = 2). Many of the surveys sites (58 %) did not have anemones or anemonefishes, and at sites where they were present, numbers were generally low. Given these findings, it is essential that collection is carefully regulated to prevent localised extinctions and ensure that reproductive success is not adversely impacted.


Amphiprion Entacmaea Heteractis Stichodactyla Marine ornamental Aquarium trade 



We would like to thank the crew of the RV James Kirby, and C.Y. Kuo for their work in co-ordinating the expedition, T. Bridge for creating the site map and field assistance, and A. Roelofs for helpful discussions and comments on the manuscript. This research was supported by an Australian Research Centre Future Fellowship awarded to A. Baird (Grant number: FT0990652).


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Marine Science Centre and Marine Ecology Research Centre, School of Environmental Science and ManagementSouthern Cross UniversityCoffs HarbourAustralia
  2. 2.ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef StudiesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia

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