Clown fish and anemones symbiotic relationship

Sea Anemone and Clownfish relationship Commensalism - Future Tech Report

clown fish and anemones symbiotic relationship

[1]Clownfish are among the few species of fish that can avoid the potent poison of a sea anemone. These two species have a symbiotic, mutualistic relationship. The relationship between the sea anemone and clownfish allows the Symbiosis between the two species is achieved in a variety of ways. Clownfish or the anemonefish are small fishes belonging to superclass Pisces and family Pomacentridae. There are about twenty nine species of clownfish are .

People who catch clownfish and keep them as pets in aquariums are making a mistake. There are only ten out of more than one thousand types of anemone that are able to host these fish.

clown fish and anemones symbiotic relationship

Many people put the fish in a tank with the wrong anemone. In captivity, the clownfish can live from 3 to 5 years.

clown fish and anemones symbiotic relationship

In the wild, they live 6 to 10 years. Symbiosis describes the special relationship between clownfish and sea anemones.

clown fish and anemones symbiotic relationship

They are the only fish that do not get stung by the tentacles of the sea anemone. Clownfish have a slimy mucus covering that protects them from the sea anemone. However, if this covering is wiped off of a clownfish, it will get stung and possibly be killed when it returns home to the anemone.


The clownfish and the sea anemone help each other survive in the ocean. The clownfish, while being provided with food, cleans away fish and algae leftovers from the anemone. In addition, the sea anemones are given better water circulation because the clownfish fan their fins while swimming about.

Clownfish live at the bottom of the sea in sheltered reefs or in shallow lagoons, usually in pairs. Clownfish have a special relationship with the anemone and are very important to them. They are a large help to the anemone as they clean the anemone by eating the algae and other food leftovers on them. They also protect the sea anemones by chasing away polyp-eating fish, such as the butterfly fish.

The map below shows where in the world clownfish can be found.

clown fish and anemones symbiotic relationship

They live in the warmer waters of the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. If you've seen the film 'Finding Nemo', you may already be familiar with clownfish and sea anemones. But, do you understand why they can live together? Or how each benefits the other? This lesson will explore the symbiosis between the clownfish and the sea anemone.

Types of Symbiotic Relationships Peanut butter and jelly. A dog and a bone.

clown fish and anemones symbiotic relationship

Sea anemones and clownfish. Yes, some things just belong together. But wait, a sea anemone and a clownfish? They prefer to live in pairs.

Clownfish Biology

They are also distributed in the northwest Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan and the Indo-Malaysian region but totally absent in the Caribbean region.

They are known to feed on small invertebrates otherwise they may cause damage to the sea anemone. The faecal matter released by these fishes act as source of nutrients for the sea anemone. The diet comprises of copepods, algae, zooplanktons and algae. They also feed on small crustaceans and molluscs.

Clownfish & Sea Anemones: A Symbiotic Relationship

When kept under captivity they are provided fish pellets and fish flakes and food. They also feed on the undigested food material of the sea anemones. Clownfish and certain damselfish are the only known species of fishes which are able to remain unaffected by the poison secreted by the sea anemone.

Many theories have been put forward to support this view. According to one view the mucus coating of the fish may be composed of sugars rather than proteins so the sea anemone fails to recognize the fish as food sources and does not attacks it. Another view suggests that due to co-evolution clownfish has developed immunity against the toxins secreted by the sea anemone. It is well known that they tend to live in pairs in a single anemone and when the female dies the male changes its sex to female.

This process is known as sequential hermaphroditism.