Symbiotic relationship of clown fish and sea anemones

Intricate relationship allows the other to flourish : Sea Anemones - AskNature

symbiotic relationship of clown fish and sea anemones

If you've seen the film 'Finding Nemo', you may already be familiar with clownfish and sea anemones. But, do you understand why they can live. [1]Clownfish are among the few species of fish that can avoid the potent poison of a sea anemone. These two species have a symbiotic, mutualistic relationship. Clownfish or the anemonefish are small fishes belonging to superclass Pisces and family Pomacentridae. There are about twenty nine species of clownfish are .

Many people put the fish in a tank with the wrong anemone. In captivity, the clownfish can live from 3 to 5 years. In the wild, they live 6 to 10 years. Symbiosis describes the special relationship between clownfish and sea anemones. They are the only fish that do not get stung by the tentacles of the sea anemone.

symbiotic relationship of clown fish and sea anemones

Clownfish have a slimy mucus covering that protects them from the sea anemone. However, if this covering is wiped off of a clownfish, it will get stung and possibly be killed when it returns home to the anemone.

The clownfish and the sea anemone help each other survive in the ocean.

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The clownfish, while being provided with food, cleans away fish and algae leftovers from the anemone. In addition, the sea anemones are given better water circulation because the clownfish fan their fins while swimming about.

Clownfish live at the bottom of the sea in sheltered reefs or in shallow lagoons, usually in pairs.

symbiotic relationship of clown fish and sea anemones

Clownfish have a special relationship with the anemone and are very important to them. They are a large help to the anemone as they clean the anemone by eating the algae and other food leftovers on them.

They also protect the sea anemones by chasing away polyp-eating fish, such as the butterfly fish. The map below shows where in the world clownfish can be found.

Clownfish and Sea Anemone: Symbiotic Relationship | Navodita George Maurice - porkostournaments.info

They live in the warmer waters of the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. There are no clownfish in the Caribbean.

What is the Life Cycle of the Clownfish?

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There are 28 recognised species of clown fish that are found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The clown fish is also found as far north as the Red Sea and inhabits the Great Barrier Reef, on the Australian east coast. The oceans of the world contain over 1, different species of sea anemones. Symbiosis describes the special relationship between clownfish and sea anemones.

They are the only fish that do not get stung by the tentacles of the sea anemone. Clownfish have a slimy mucus covering that protects them from the sea anemone.

However, if this covering is wiped off of a clownfish, it will get stung and possibly be killed when it returns home to the anemone. The clownfish and the sea anemone help each other survive in the ocean. The clownfish, while being provided with food, cleans away fish and algae leftovers from the anemone.

In addition, the sea anemones are given better water circulation because the clownfish fan their fins while swimming about. The clown fish and the sea anemone have a mutual relationship with one another: Clown fish also provide the sea anemone with its excrement which makes up a large portion of the sea anemone diet alone. Also, the clown fish aid the sea anemone by using their bright colored gills to lure fish and other organisms into the sea anemone so the anemone can capture the lured prey.

Finally, the sea anemones profit from the clown fish by getting better water circulation throughout their whole body because the clown fish are constantly swimming throughout their tentacles. They are also distributed in the northwest Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan and the Indo-Malaysian region but totally absent in the Caribbean region. They are known to feed on small invertebrates otherwise they may cause damage to the sea anemone.

symbiotic relationship of clown fish and sea anemones

The faecal matter released by these fishes act as source of nutrients for the sea anemone. The diet comprises of copepods, algae, zooplanktons and algae.

Investigation

They also feed on small crustaceans and molluscs. When kept under captivity they are provided fish pellets and fish flakes and food. They also feed on the undigested food material of the sea anemones. Clownfish and certain damselfish are the only known species of fishes which are able to remain unaffected by the poison secreted by the sea anemone.

The Symbiotic Relationship between a Clownfish and Sea Anemone | Kagoshima City Aquarium

Many theories have been put forward to support this view. According to one view the mucus coating of the fish may be composed of sugars rather than proteins so the sea anemone fails to recognize the fish as food sources and does not attacks it.

Another view suggests that due to co-evolution clownfish has developed immunity against the toxins secreted by the sea anemone. It is well known that they tend to live in pairs in a single anemone and when the female dies the male changes its sex to female. This process is known as sequential hermaphroditism.

Clownfish are born as males and that is why they are protandrous hermaphrodites.