TRUE FACTS ABOUT THE CLOWNFISH
Did you know? > Clownfish
1. It’s not all about „NEMO“
There are about 30 species of clownfish. Even though their colors and patterns (stripes or blotches) can range from yellow to orange, red, blue, maroon to even black or even white with spots: all these varieties in subspecies are still classified as the well-beloved clownfish.
2. They form symbiotic relationships with sea anemones.
Clownfish have a symbiotic (long-term mutual benefit) relationship with sea anemones which is a fish-eating plant-like animal that has poisonous tentacles.Sea anemones benefit from clownfish who clean them by eating its parasites and dead tentacles, help circulate the water around them, attract potential prey with their bright colors, and provide nutrients from their droppings. Clownfish in return benefit from their sea anemone, who provide food scraps and whose venomous tentacles protect the clownfish from any attack by other fish. Over time, the clownfish builds up an immunity to the sea anemone’s lethal stings and because of a layer of mucus on the clownfish’s skin.
3. Apart from having symbiotic relationships with sea anemones, clownfish are very social creatures in general. They live in large groups of male fish that contain a dominant female and a dominant male. They communicate through a series of popping and clicking noises, which they use for both defense and to declare their social status within the group. When paired, clownfish form particularly close bonds with whoever they choose to mate with.
4. Clownfish are hermaphrodites, meaning they contain both male and female reproductive organs. In fact, when baby clownfish hatch from their eggs, they are all a male at first. Out of the freshly laid group, the largest fish will become the dominant female by changing gender. The second largest fish will become the dominant male. Both of them form the fertilizing couple within the whole school of clownfish. If the dominant female dies at one point, the dominant male will then switch sexes and become the dominant female and the next bigger male one will take his place, moving up in the school’s very own hierarchy! The change cannot be reversed.
5. Clownfish are very territorial fish and will defend both their habitat and their school. They will begin to swim around erratically in their defense, which often looks quite silly. This quirky behavior is really what gave them their unique name.