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All About Clownfish

Sat, May 14, 2016 at 12:35PM

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The clownfish may have been brought to life for viewers in Finding Nemo (a role it’s soon to reprise), but this one-of-a-kind ocean dweller has been interesting scientists and marine enthusiasts long before it ever found its way to the big screen.

In today’s blog, we’re looking at a few of the most interesting facts behind the clownfish.

The clownfish goes by another name

You may know these orange and white creatures solely as clownfish—but that’s just their popular name! This type of fish is actually called the clown anemonefish, a name that refers to the fish’s natural tendency to live within an anemone.

Your pet clownfish probably isn’t very funny

Wondering where the “clown” part of clown anemonefish comes from? If you’ve ever observed a clownfish at home or in the wild, you probably know that the fish isn’t intrinsically funny. The name, as you might guess, is derived from the bold coloring of most clownfish, which is reminiscent of the daring color mixing you might find on a clown’s uniform.

While we’re on the topic of color, it’s worth noting that not every clownfish has the same orange and white striping. Some may lean more yellow, red or black.

Both the clownfish and the anemone benefit from their unique living arrangement

From its name, you know that the clownfish has close ties with the anemone—but do you know the specifics behind their unique arrangement?

Clownfish live inside anemones for protection from predators outside, since the anemone’s tentacles deliver a dose of venom to unwelcome intruders. Clownfish are able to avoid the effects of this venom, possibly due to an exterior mucus on the fish that the anemone doesn’t recognize as potential food.

While the clownfish finds food and shelter with the anemone, the “host” also benefits by receiving protection from the clownfish. The fish will fend off small fish or parasites that come close to the anemone and threaten its home.

You can’t find a clownfish just anywhere

Unfortunately for boaters in the states, finding a clownfish in the wild may be a little more difficult than simply heading to the nearest waterway. Clownfish live in parts of the Pacific and Indian oceans (off the coasts of places like Madagascar, Australia and the Philippines). Keep an eye out for these brightly colored creatures on your next trip abroad… or simply wait and watch for them on the big screen!

Have you ever spotted a clownfish—or, as you might instead call it, an anemonefish—while out on the water? Whether you saw yours while cruising the Pacific or have one in an aquarium at home, this fish is certainly something to marvel at. Stay with us as we continue to explore some of the most unique creatures of the deep in upcoming blogs.

 


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