Clownfish are often called anemonefish because they enjoy a special relationship with sea anemones.
The clownfish is not a very strong swimmer, they can dart and move quickly but not fast or far. They use the anemone for protection and develop a resistance in their mucosa from the stinging defense of the sea anemone. In return, unsuspecting predators attracted to the brightly colored clownfish are caught and eaten by the anemone.
For more information on sea anemones click here.
Of the 1,000 species of anemones only 10 enjoy a symbiont relationship with clown fish.
It is possible that other pairings are possible. For instance, the anemone Condylactis gigantea is found in the Caribbean Sea, where no clown fish have ever been resident, and we have reliable observations and reports of this anemone hosting clownfish as typical clownfish anemone symbionts.
Each anemone becomes a “territory” to a pair of clownfish, the dominant female and the bonded male. Often there will be a few to many juvenile clownfish taking up residence under the anemone near its foot and the female typically tolerates them so long as they mind their place. The bonded pair spend much of their time in the tentacles and near the mouth. The female will tend to range farther away than the male.
The female will typically lay her eggs on a substrate near the foot of the anemone, under the oral disc near the pedal disc, and the male will normally tend to and groom the eggs and protect them.
Here are the ten symbionts of the clown fish and the clown fish they typically host:
|Adhesive Sea Anemone
|Bulb Tentacle Sea Anemone
|Ruppell and Leuchkart
|Beaded Sea Anemone
|Quoy and Giamard
|Leathery Sea Anemone
|Magnificant Sea Anemone
|Quoy and Gaimard
|Delecate Sea anemone
|Haddon and Shackleton
|Corkscrew Tentacle Sea Anemone
|Quoy and Gimaard
|Gigantic Sea Anemone
|Haddon's Sea Anemone
|Merten's Sea Anemone