Animal of the Week with Justin C: Clownfish

Animal of the Week with Justin C: Clownfish

Justin Carl Claudio, Staff Writer

Have you watched the Pixar movie called Finding Nemo? If so, you’ve seen a clownfish or anemone fish. Found in warm waters, such as the Great Barriers Reef, Red Sea, and Pacific Oceans, they take refuge in reefs and lagoons or wherever anemones may be found.

What are anemones? Anemones are a group of predatory marine invertebrates (like jellyfish and corals) that eat tiny plankton and small fish.

Sea anemones have venomous tentacles to protect them from predators, but clownfish’s skin is coated with a layer of mucus that makes it immune to sea anemones. They will host under anemones where they are safe and protected from other predators (groupers, sharks, etc.) in the ocean.

Clownfish diets include various small invertebrates and algae, as well as food scraps the anemone leaves behind.  There are around 30 known species of clownfish and two types commonly referred to as the orange clownfish: amphiprion percula and amphiprion ocellaris. Their lifespan is between 3 to 5 years in the aquarium environment but in the wild, they live longer.


Fun facts

  • All clownfish are born male. 
  • If the female leaves the group or dies, the male will become female.
  • Clownfish is one of the fish that can change genders from male to female.
  • Schools of clownfish have a strict hierarchy, with the most aggressive female at the top.