The World Of Clownfish, Everything You Wanted to Know
Facts on Clownfish
- Clownfish live in an Anemone
- All Clownfish are born male, however once the clownfish is female they can’t turn back
- Female clownfish can lay over 1000 eggs, and the male clownfish guard the eggs
- They get their name from their bright orange colouring and white strips, but also from the bouncy way they swim
There are twenty-nine species of clownfish, they live among the reefs from East Africa to French Polynesia and from Japan to Eastern Australia, with the greatest concentration of diversity on the north coast of New Guinea in he Bismarch Sea.
Among scientists and aquarists,clownfish are also known as Anemonefish because they can’t survive without a host anemone, whose stinging tentacles protect them and their developing eggs from intruders. Of the roughly thousand species of anemones, only 10 host clownfish. It’s still a mystery exactly how a clownfish avoids being stung by the anemone, but a layer of mucus—possibly developed by the clownfish after it first touches an anemone’s tentacles—may afford protection.
Clownfish spend their entire lives with their host anemone, rarely straying more than a few yards from it. They lay their eggs about twice a month on the nearest hard surface concealed by the fleshy base of the anemone, and they aggressively protect the developing embryos. Just after a clownfish hatches, it drifts near the surface for a week or two as a tiny, transparent larva. Then it metamorphoses into a miniature clownfish less than half an inch long that descends to the reef. If the young clownfish doesn’t find an anemone and acclimatise to within a day or two, it will not survive.
The anemone is a plant like creature with lots of poisonous tentacles that lives on rocks or coral in the ocean. The clownfish has a special layer of mucus on its skin that protects it from the anemone’s poison.
By living in and around the anemone, the clownfish gets protection from predators and also gets to eat scraps from the anemone’s food. The clownfish, in turn, keeps the anemone clean by eating and removing parasites.
Despite their close relationship with the anemone, clownfish do still live in groups called school. Within each group is a dominant female leader. As all clownfish are born male, if that female leader were to die the strongest male would become a female and the new leader of the school.
Together the anemone and clownfish live in shallow and calm lagoons or coastal reefs to depths of 50 feet (15m). There are only four different kinds of anemones that clownfish will live in.
Clownfish are omnivorous and can feed on undigested food from their host anemones, and the fecal matter from the clownfish provides nutrients to the sea anemone. Clownfish primarily feed on small zooplankton from the water column, such as copepods and tunicate larvae, with a small portion of their diet coming from algae, with the exception of Amphiprion perideration, which primarily feeds on algae. They may also consume the tentacles of their host anemone.
Top places to see Clownfish
– Tofo, Peri Peri
– Red Sea
– South Pacific
– Japan, Okinawa
For your chance to dive with Clownfish then please visit our website www.oysterdivingholidays.com or join one of our group trips which can be found at www.oysterdiving.com/diving-club.
Dangerous & Threads
Clown fish have many threats of being in the ocean; most are that it gets eaten by different species of marine life, such as, octopus, larger fish, stingrays, reef sharks, ells and other reef dwellers. Humans are also a threat to clock fish, we take them in from their natural habitat and keep them as pets, also, we can harm there Anemone by touching or accidently flicking, stamping or harming the Anemone. So be careful next time you’re around a coral.