Symbiotic relationship of sea anemone and clownfish

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

symbiotic relationship of sea anemone and clownfish

Sea Anemones are predators that attach themselves to rocks or coral. There, they sit and wait until a fish of the Sea Anemone. By making the anemone their home, clownfish become immune to its sting. These fish Relationship: Mutualism. The oceans of the world contain over 1, different species of sea anemones. Symbiosis describes the special relationship between clownfish. Clownfish or the anemonefish are small fishes belonging to superclass Pisces and family Pomacentridae. There are about twenty nine species of clownfish are .

But Chadwick and her colleagues wondered whether, like coral fish and other fish species, the clownfish also benefit the sea anemones, by ventilating them. To find out, the team gathered sea anemone and clownfish from the Red Sea near Aqaba, Jordan, and put them in a flow tank to see how much oxygen they used, both separately and together.

Together, the two species used up more oxygen than either could on their own. But the two had to be touching for this to happen, Chadwick said.

Clownfish & Sea Anemones: A Symbiotic Relationship

Wiggle dance To understand why, the team spent hours filming the behavior of the clownfish within the sea anemone. It turned out the clownfish performed a bizarre little wiggle danceflapping its fins while dodging and turning.

That creates fresh water circulation for the stationary anemone, allowing it to access more oxygenated water, speed up its metabolism, and grow faster.

symbiotic relationship of sea anemone and clownfish

That's also good news for the clownfish, which have more room to hide within the anemone. Many theories have been put forward to support this view.

symbiotic relationship of sea anemone and clownfish

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

symbiotic relationship of sea anemone and clownfish

The male is known to guard the eggs until they hatch after days. They lay eggs ranging from hundreds to thousands. They are the first known fishes to breed in captivity.

Symbiosis & Anemonefish - Reef Life of the Andaman - Part 18

There are 28 recognised species of clown fish that are found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The clown fish is also found as far north as the Red Sea and inhabits the Great Barrier Reef, on the Australian east coast. The oceans of the world contain over 1, different species of sea anemones. Symbiosis describes the special relationship between clownfish and sea anemones.

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.

Clownfish Biology

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. The clown fish and the sea anemone have a mutual relationship with one another: Clown fish also provide the sea anemone with its excrement which makes up a large portion of the sea anemone diet alone. Also, the clown fish aid the sea anemone by using their bright colored gills to lure fish and other organisms into the sea anemone so the anemone can capture the lured prey.

Finally, the sea anemones profit from the clown fish by getting better water circulation throughout their whole body because the clown fish are constantly swimming throughout their tentacles.