The well known "clown" or anemonefishes of the genus

Amphiprion and Premnas are the most readily recognized creatures associated with anemones. Their lives are so intimately tied

Amphiprion Chrysopterus

to their hosts that they are nearly never found without an anemone in the natural environment,* though they live perfectly well without one in captivity. Captive anemonefishes often choose a substitute host, such as the anemone-like soft coral Sarcophyton, the crown of "feather duster" sabellid worms, the tentacles of various Euphyllia spp. corals, or the elongate tentacle-like polyps of the stony coral Goniopora.

The clownfishes are the best known creatures associated with sea anemones. Here the Blue-Stripe Clown, Amphiprion chrysopterus, is living with Heteractis crispa. J. Sprung

* An anemonefish was seen among the tentacles of the anemone-like coral Euphyllia at a site called "Ghavudu" in the Solomon Islands. This is a common occurrence in home aquariums, but rare in the natural environment.

Clownfish behaviour and their association with anemones are fascinating to watch and scientifically interesting. Their "immunity" to the stings of the host is not entirely explained, though much has been written about it. Chemical and behavioural aspects of the association have been studied. Actually clownfish are not "immune" to the stings- they are merely protected from stings by their mucus coating. Without the coat they are stung like any other fish. It is the mechanism of the protection and its origin that remain to be fully explained. The current belief is that clownfish have evolved to have mucus chemistry that greatly suppresses or does not stimulate nematocyst discharge. Since they live among the tentacles of the anemone they furthermore pick up some anemone mucus on their surface, just as anemone mucus can be found on other surfaces that the anemone contacts (Fautin and Allen, 1992). In this way the clownfish becomes chemically "invisible," seeming like part of the anemone.

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The COMPLETE guide to Aquariums

The word aquarium originates from the ancient Latin language, aqua meaning water and the suffix rium meaning place or building. Aquariums are beautiful and look good anywhere! Home aquariums are becoming more and more popular, it is a hobby that many people are flocking too and fish shops are on the rise. Fish are generally easy to keep although do they need quite a bit of attention. Puppies and kittens were the typical pet but now fish are becoming more and more frequent in house holds. In recent years fish shops have noticed a great increase in the rise of people wanting to purchase aquariums and fish, the boom has been great for local shops as the fish industry hasnt been such a great industry before now.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment