The brilliantly colored Clownfish gets its name from its distinctive black and white markings.
Clownfish belong to a group of small, brightly colored fish called damselfish. These inshore reef dwellers have developed a curious and potentially deadly relationship with the sea anemone.
Clownfish lay their eggs in batches on the clear coral or rock adjacent to the anemone, or at the base of the male guards the eggs until they hatch 4-5 days later. In some species of clownfish, the male cares for the young until they reach sexual maturity, at which time they leave to find their own host anemone.
Most clownfish spawn on coral near their host anemone or within the anemone itself.
FOOD & FEEDING
The clownfish has a symbiotic, or mutually beneficial, relationship with the sea anemone. It catches most of its food by cooperating with its host anemone. The clownfish will leave the safety of the anemone's tentacles and swim out among the nearby reef. Its brilliant colors attract larger fish, who, lured by the thought of a meal, follow it back to the anemone and are stung by the anemone one's tentacles. The anemone then consumes the fish, and the clownfish feeds on the remains.
CLOWNFISH & MAN
Far too small to be hunted by man for food, clownfish have lived undisturbed in the coral reefs for thousands of years. But more recently, they have become extremely popular as saltwater aquarium fish. The brightly colored species command a high price in europe and the united states. Collectors, realizing the demand, have destroyed many reefs in search of prime specimens, often damaging or killing the host anemones in the process.
SizesLength:2-5 in., according to species
BreedingSpawning season:Year round in tropical waters.Eggs:Laid in large batches.Hatching time:4-5 days.
LifestyleHabits: Usually live in pairs within an anemone.Diet: Leftovers from fish consumed by anemone; algae.Lifespan: 3-5 years in captivity.
Related speciesClownfish belong to the same family of damselfish. They include the common A. percula, the two-banded A. akindynos, the black A. melannopus, the black-banded A. ephippus, the white-maned A. periderain, and the red sea variety A. bicinctus.
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