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Clownfish - Amazing Symbiotic Partner


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You may not know this, but the starring fish in Disney/Pixar's Finding Nemo - a clownfish, is sometimes called an anemonefish, or Amphiprioninae - which is a subfamily of roughly thirty different species who all share a few things in common. The most prominent feature is the symbiotic relationship all clownfish form with sea anemones. Sea anemones are deadly poisonous to almost all sea fauna, but curiously, clownfish have developed some sort of evolutionary immunity to the poisons of these tentacle-having sea floor dwellers. The ability to hide among the dangerous tendrils of the sea anemone protects the vulnerable clown fish from predators, and in return the clownfish eat little particles and small plant matter, in essence cleaning their protective organism.

 

 

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Of all of the amazing fish in the earth's seas, clownfish, who usually prefer warmer waters, are one of the most visually striking - normally with bright orange and white stripes, but sometimes with reds, browns or even black colors, depending on the species. The largest species can reach up to 7.1 inches (18 cm), while the little guys top out at just under 4 inches (10 cm).

 

big white stripe

 

Fact: the weirdest thing about the symbiotic relationship between clownfish and sea anemones? The fish’s fecal matter helps fertilize and provides nutrients for the sea anemone. You would think getting literally pooped on would make their relationship a bit more contentious, but this is a vital service the fish provides the anemone. They can be found in many oceans, including the Pacific, the Indian - in and around the Great Barrier Reef and in the Red Sea. Naturally, they are limited to the range of their protective symbiotic partners, and generally are found in shallower waters, reefs and lagoons.

 

anemone clown fish

 

Have you heard of the movie called “Insane Clownfish Posse”? Me neither but we think it’s a great idea for a movie, maybe it should be the sequel to Finding Nemo.

 

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