Curious little clownfish

Clownfish swimming in anemone in Indonesia

Photographs © Chris Hamilton

Chances are, thanks to the 2003 animated film Finding Nemo, you have a pretty good idea of what fish is looking at you here. But did you know there are actually 28 species of clownfish that are found in the Indian and Pacific oceans? No? Well, here are seven more facts you can drop into conversation after your next dive (or sushi dinner):

1/ Clownfish are reef dwellers and live in and around predatory sea anemones – but the fish are immune to their sting.

2/ Before a clownfish takes up residence in an anemone, acclimation must take place – so the fish swims around the anemone, and rubs its ventral side and fins on the anemone in order to become immune to its sting.

3/ Clownfish have a symbiotic relationship with their anemone home, and in return for safety and food scraps, they preen the anemone and keep it clear of parasites. They also help to increase water circulation because of the fanning of their fins.

4/ All clownfish are born male, and have the ability to switch sex if they are to become the dominant female in the group.

5/ Clownfish are omnivorous – they eat plants and animals.

6/ They can be found living at depths from three to 15 meters.

7/ These little reef dwellers can live between six and 10 years in the wild.

Clownfish swimming in anemone in Indnoesia

 

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