The orange clownfish (Amphiprion percula), and seven other damselfish should be afforded protections under the Endangered Species Act, according to a petition filed with the National Marine Fisheries Service by the Center for Biological Diversity. According to the center, ocean acidification damages the hearing, sight, and smell of the clownfish and also interferes with the fish’s ability to avoid predators and find their homes.
The center states that global warming has also been detrimental to this species, saying predation rates of the clownfish are five to nine times higher than normal at levels of CO2 that are not expected until later this century. The orange clownfish resides in sea anemones that are found on coral reefs, and seven species of clownfish that are dependent on branching coral reefs are also at risk due to climate change.
We risk losing the striking fish that inspired Finding Nemo forever if we don’t put the brakes on global warming and ocean acidification, Shaye Wolf, the Center’s climate science director said in a statement announcing the petition. Carbon pollution harms these fish and destroys their coral reef homes. If we want these beautiful animals to survive in the wild, not just in a movie, we have to protect them under the Endangered Species Act.
In addition to the orange clownfish, the center has named the yellowtail damselfish (Chrysiptera parasema), Hawaiian dascyllus (Dascyllus albisella), blue-eye damselfish (Plectroglyphidodon johnstonianus ), black-axil chromis (Chromis atripectoralis), Dick’s damselfish (Plectroglyphidodon dickii), reticulated damselfish (Dascyllus reticulatus), and blue-green damselfish (Chromis viridis) in its petition for protection.