Look out Latz lovers! Amphiprion latezonatus, commonly known as the wide-band or Latezonatus clownfish, is one of the most desired yet least obtainable species for anemonefish enthusiasts. Their characteristic wide center stripe that broadens with age, distinguishes them from every other species of clownfish. Wild collected “Latz”, as they are affectionately known, have trickled into […]
Look out Latz lovers! Amphiprion latezonatus, commonly known as the wide-band or Latezonatus clownfish, is one of the most desired yet least obtainable species for anemonefish enthusiasts. Their characteristic wide center stripe that broadens with age, distinguishes them from every other species of clownfish. Wild collected “Latz”, as they are affectionately known, have trickled into the market in very small numbers for years. Unfortunately many have met their demise due a host of diseases and maladies that are often encountered with wild caught clownfish.
Amphiprion latezonatus is an Australian endemic, ranging from Southern Queensland to Northern New South Wales and Lord Howe Island, hundreds of miles away from the vast majority of saltwater aquarium fish collection to the north. Even worse than their remote location, most individuals are collected as large specimens, which ship poorly and have much less of a chance to adapt to aquarium life. Throw in an epidemic of seemingly inexplicable blindness and it’s enough to make your head spin.
Recently hope grew when news broke that captive raised Latz would finally be available on the market. This excitement was short-lived when it was realized that on those captive bred Latz the famous wide center stripe, was misbarred… they were wide-band clownfish without the wide band! The desire for captive-bred Latezonatus with the same beauty of their wild caught cousins went back to being a dream. Thanks to Karen Brittain, it’s now a reality.
In September I met up with biologist and fish breeder Karen Brittain at her home on the island of Oahu. Karen is best known for her accomplishments at the Waikiki Aquarium, when in 2002 she became just the second person in the world to successfully spawn and raise saltwater angelfish in captivity. Karen is also known for having spawned and raised clownfish for years, supplying the US market with many different species of impeccable quality. Karen definitely has a “blue thumb” when it comes to breeding fish.
When I heard that she had produced captive-bred Latezonatus clowns that “appeared wild”, I had to see it myself. As I anxiously walked into her breeding room I was amazed to see healthy captive-bred Latz completely indistinguishable from their wild counterparts. What a sight! The pictures speak for themselves.
Karen Brittain & John ‘Copps’ Coppolino, flanked by HI based wholesalers William Crook (L) and DJ Linehan (R)
Editors Note: These first Amphiprion latezonatus specimens are currently available in limited numbers. Aquarists in the U.S. can order direct from Aqualife Unlimited. Additionally they will be made available to local fish stores both domestically and internationally via two major wholesalers from Oahu.
Congratulations to Karen! We wish her continued success with her breeding programs.