Thanks to the Pixar’s film, Finding Nemo, Clownfish have become one of the most recognizable saltwater species ever. With that said, there is so much more to the Clownfish than what Pixar portrays in their cartoon. Here are some of the most interesting facts about Clownfish:
Many people believe that Finding Nemo features a Clownfish, however, this is only partly true. The Clownfish is actually a sub-family of fish that contain over 30 different Clownfish species. Nemo represents just 1 of the 30 different Clownfish varieties – the Ocellaris Clownfish, which, believe it or not, is actually called the “false Clownfish”.
Clownfish can be very difficult to breed in captivity. As a result, around 75% of Clownfish that are bought and sold, are wild-caught. And yet Clownfish are still, undoubtedly, the most popular fish in the aquarium hobby. In fact, they make up for over 40% of saltwater marine life in the hobby today.
Although they are most famous for their orange coloration, the different Clownfish species come in a variety of colors. They come in colors including red, black, gray, yellow and orange. Many of them also feature 3 distinct white bars, but not all of them do.
Perhaps one of the most interesting facts about Clownfish, would be their symbiotic relationship that they have with their home.
In the wild, they always find themselves at-home in an Anemone. The Clownfish and the Sea Anemone co-exist together in a way that is mutually beneficial.
The Anemone protects the Clownfish from predators by allowing them to burrow and hide in them. In return, the Clownfish fends off predators such as parasites.
On top of this, the Anemone provides the Clownfish with scraps of their meals. Again the favor is returned, as the Anemone is able to absorb nutrients from the excreted waste of the Clownfish.
Thirdly, the Clownfish provides aeration of the Anemone by moving around and wedging itself throughout it. This causes the Anemone to increase in size, which is once again, beneficial for both of them.
Clownfish are born gender neutral. As juveniles in an aquarium, they are neither male nor female and the most dominant fish turns into a female. The second most dominant fish will be a male and he will be much smaller than the female. Every other fish in the colony will develop into subdominant males with the possibility of turning into a female at some point in their life, if the dominant female dies.
In an aquarium, It is not uncommon for a Clownfish to spend their entire life within a 3-4 inch radius of their home. In the wild, the Sea Anemone is their home of choice. But when they are kept in an aquarium, they are able to adopt a home amongst other corals that resemble Anemones, such as Frogspawn Coral and Xenia Coral.
Clownfish are monogamous breeders. This means they will only have one partner at any given time. Females can lay up to 1000 eggs at a time and the male takes on the role of fertilizing and protecting the eggs.
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