Clownfish and sea anemone symbiotic relationship

Intricate relationship allows the other to flourish : Sea Anemones - AskNature

clownfish and sea anemone symbiotic relationship

Yet at no point while watching this movie did I ask myself, "What sort of relationship does Nemo the Clownfish and this Sea Anemone share?. Bound in an alliance of mutual benefit, clownfish and their host anemones are . com/magazine//01/ clownfish); Heteractis magnifica (magnificent sea anemone); photographed in Seychelles . The clownfish and the anemone—their relationship has captivated home. Clownfish or the anemonefish are small fishes belonging to superclass Pisces and family Pomacentridae. There are about twenty nine species of clownfish are .

The diet comprises of copepods, algae, zooplanktons and algae. They also feed on small crustaceans and molluscs. When kept under captivity they are provided fish pellets and fish flakes and food.

clownfish and sea anemone symbiotic relationship

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.

Sea Anemone and Clownfish relationship Commensalism - Future Tech Report

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. Clownfish are born as males and that is why they are protandrous hermaphrodites.

On top of the hierarchy reproducing female is present followed by the male but if the female dies this hierarchy gets disrupted. The largest member of a group is a female and the second largest one the male. Clownfish are neuter which means that they do not have fully developed sex organs for either gender.

clownfish and sea anemone symbiotic relationship

Clownfish prefer to lay their eggs on flat surfaces where they can adhere properly. Spawning generally occurs around the time of full moon.

The male is known to guard the eggs until they hatch after days.

Sea Anemone and Clownfish relationship Commensalism

They lay eggs ranging from hundreds to thousands. They are the first known fishes to breed in captivity.

The average life span is of years but in captivity they live up to years. They show a special association with the sea anemone.

The activity of these fishes result in greater amount of water circulation around the sea anemone and sea anemone provides them protection from its toxins.


Examples of metabiosis are hermit crabs using gastropod shells to protect their bodies, and spiders building their webs on plants. Parasitism Head scolex of tapeworm Taenia solium is adapted to parasitism with hooks and suckers to attach to its host. In a parasitic relationshipthe parasite benefits while the host is harmed. Parasitism is an extremely successful mode of life; as many as half of all animals have at least one parasitic phase in their life cycles, and it is also frequent in plants and fungi.

Moreover, almost all free-living animal species are hosts to parasites, often of more than one species. Mimicry Mimicry is a form of symbiosis in which a species adopts distinct characteristics of another species to alter its relationship dynamic with the species being mimicked, to its own advantage.

Clownfish Biology

Batesian mimicry is an exploitative three-party interaction where one species, the mimic, has evolved to mimic another, the model, to deceive a third, the dupe. In terms of signalling theorythe mimic and model have evolved to send a signal; the dupe has evolved to receive it from the model.

clownfish and sea anemone symbiotic relationship

This is to the advantage of the mimic but to the detriment of both the model, whose protective signals are effectively weakened, and of the dupe, which is deprived of an edible prey.

For example, a wasp is a strongly-defended model, which signals with its conspicuous black and yellow coloration that it is an unprofitable prey to predators such as birds which hunt by sight; many hoverflies are Batesian mimics of wasps, and any bird that avoids these hoverflies is a dupe. Amensalism is an asymmetric interaction where one species is harmed or killed by the other, and one is unaffected by the other. Competition is where a larger or stronger organism deprives a smaller or weaker one from a resource.

Seaview Science: Clown Fish Symbiosis