Clownfish are inspirational. Clownfish, or anemonefish as they are also known, are fish that live in warmer ocean waters. They do not live in the Atlantic Ocean. The thirty recognized species live in the Indian and Pacific oceans. They live in shallow sea areas, shallow lagoons, and sheltered reefs. They are mutualistic with sea anemones. Clownfish are as small as almost 4 inches in length to just over 7 inches depending on the species. They can resemble the clownfish seen in the animated film Finding Nemo or their color can vary depending on the species. They can be yellow, orange, reddish, or blackish and some have white stripes or patches.
Sea anemones benefit from clownfish and clownfish benefit from sea anemones. Clownfish, who are immune to the sting of sea anemones, live within the sea anemones tentacles. Sea anemones are saved from predators, like butterfly fish, and parasites. Clownfish eat the scraps leftover from anemones meals and their dead tentacles. The excrement and nitrogen from clownfish provides nutrients and helps the anemone’s tissue growth and regeneration. Clownfish movement attracts prey for anemones and it helps with both creatures’ metabolism an respiration. Clownfish may be immune from the sea anemone’s poison as a result of their coevolution or the mucus on their skin may protect the clownfish from the sea anemone’s sting.
Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites. They develop into males and then become females when they mature. The biggest and most aggressive female is at the top of the colony’s dominance hierarchy. There is one reproductive male and female in each colony. If the female dies the largest and most dominant male becomes female. The hundreds or thousands of eggs are guarded and fanned by the male. The reproductive male and female, other males, and juveniles make up the colonies.
Aquariums are essential to the global marine ornamental trade of clownfish. A quarter of the fish in the global trade are breed in captivity. The rest are captured from the wild. Where sea anemones are not available clownfish will live by or in corals. They can also survive alone in captivity.
Enjoy their color, life, Finding Nemo, or Finding Dory. Be inspired! Have a bright day!