Fish ID: The clownfish
by Cindy
in Blog
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everything you always wanted to know about "clownfish"

- Clownfish are not great swimmers. They mostly hide in anemones, and when they do venture out, their swimming patterns are very erratic
- Schools of clownfish have a strict hierarchy, with the most aggressive female at the top
- All clownfish are born male. When the dominant female dies, the dominant male will turn itself into a female

Where to find them?

You can find clownfishes in warm water, of sheltered reefs and shallow seas of the Indian and the Pacific Oceans and the Red Sea. They migrate to deeper water during the winter to stay warm.

When they enter juvenile stage, they travel to the bottom to search for a shelter in an anemone. Once they found it, they form a symbiotic relationship with them. The anemone protects them, and they provide nutrients to the anemone.

How long do they live?

In the wild there are some specimens that have been spotted in a timeframe of 10 years.

What size are they?

On average, clownfishes reach up 8 to 11cm long

How many species?

Until today, we discovered about 30 different species

How do they reproduce?

A few days before the spawning we can see a higher social activity between them, the male adopt a behavior called “signal jumping” to attract the female. Then he will search a good spot for the eggs.

Male clownfish are dedicated fathers. They will prepare the nest for the female, guard the eggs, and clean the nest.

How & what do they eat?

They are omnivores. They eat dead anemone tentacles, leftovers from the anemone, plankton, mollusk, zooplankton, phytoplankton, small crustaceans and various algae.

Clownfish catch prey by swimming onto the reef, attracting larger fish, and luring them back to the anemone. The anemone will sting and eat the larger fish, leaving the remains for the clownfish.

How do they move?

They are surprisingly bad swimmers. They spend a lot of time hiding in the anemones they live in. When they swim, they swim sideways. Even if they can swim quickly for short burst, they can’t keep up this speed to avoid a predator for too long.

Who are their predators?

Large fishes, eels and sharks

What do we still ignore?

The real longevity of the species in the wild

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