The clownfish is also known as the anemone fish, which is because in the wild it loves to live side by side with anemones. In the wild, all 30 recognized species of clownfish form a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones, where the clownfish gets protection from the anemones, and the anemones get food and cleaning. The clownfish has a coating of mucus on it that makes it invulnerable to the sting of a sea anemone.
Interesting Clown Fish Information And Facts
Color, Size And Location
Clownfish tend to be yellow, orange and white, reddish, or blackish in color. The largest variety of clownfish can grow up to 7.1 inches in length, while the smallest ones will grow up to 3.9 inches in length. The clownfish usually resides anywhere in warmer waters where there are coral reefs and anemones present, sometimes even in cooler waters. The clownfish can be found in areas such as the pacific and Indian ocean, and other sheltered reefs and lagoons.
What Do Clown Fish Eat?
Clownfish are omnivores and will feed on a variety of foods. They often eat undigested food from the anemones where they take refuge, and the waste of the clownfish is the often eaten by the anemones. Clownfish can also eat zooplankton, algae, and even tentacles from anemones. Clownfish actually help anemones by eating dead tentacles, waste, and bacteria that may damage sea anemones.
Clown Fish Gender
Something very interesting about clownfish is that they are all born males. When the lead female of a group dies the largest and most dominant male around will then turn into a female. This is a sexual change that can never be reversed. The female clownfish will layup to 1000 eggs at once, which the males guard with vigor.
However, even though so many eggs are laid, only a small fraction will live to see adulthood. Males are usually the ones to take care of the eggs, defend the fry, and feed the young clownfish once they are born. What is also interesting is that the clownfish can live for 6 to 8 years, with the oldest ones living to around 10 years of age.
There are many areas of the world where clownfish used to be present in large numbers, but now they make up over 40 percent of ornamental fish trade, and thus their numbers in the wild have been reduced quite severely. Many people keep clownfish in their aquariums even when there are no sea anemones present. When there are no sea anemones present, the clownfish will most likely hunker down in some coral or some other plant life. A clownfish will vigorously defend its anemone or coral because it is its home.
Related: Clownfish Aggression explained.