The S.E.A. Aquarium is celebrating the beautiful world of reef with TeREEFic World, happening until 30 April 2015. In this the two-part post, our guest writer talks about the clownfishes which live among the reef.
by Bernard Teo, Admin & HR I/C SMUX Diving Team 8th Executive Committee (2013-2014)
Last week, we learned about the different types of clownfish. Today, we will learn more fascinating facts about the clownfish.
Clownfish and sea anemone are friends with benefits
We often see clownfishes hide among the venomous sea anemone. The clownfish is immune to the tentacle stings of the anemone due to a mucus coating on the fish.
The sea anemone protects the clownfish from predators, functions as a safe nest site for breeding pairs and provides food through the scraps left from the anemone’s meals and occasional dead anemone tentacles. In return, the clownfish defends the anemone from its predators and parasites.
Clownfish can change sex from male to female
For anyone who has gone into the wrong public toilet, the clownfish’s ability to change sex based on its social group is a great ability to have.
Clownfishes develop and start out as males and have the chance of becoming females. In social groups, the female is the dominant and largest member, normally showing signs of aggression towards other members of the social group.
The other fishes in the anemone will become males or stay as non-reproductive members. They decide their sexes by size and dominance of the fishes within the social group.
Clownfishes live in family units
You might think that the movie Finding Nemo’s father-son duo Marlin and Nemo are just cartoon characters. But there is some truth in their relationship–clownfish live in family units.
Clownfish colonies usually consist of the reproductive male and female and a few juveniles that help tend the colony. There will only be one breeding pair in a family. When one of the breeding pair dies, the other fishes in the unit will assume the roles accordingly, changing sex if they have to.
Females lay between 600 to 1500 eggs per batch. Male clownfish are often the caretakers of eggs by fanning and guarding them for six to ten days until they hatch. Depending on individual males, the more effort they spend fanning and tending to the eggs, the better the success rates hatching the brood.
A note from S.E.A. Aquarium
At S.E.A. Aquarium, our dedicated aquarist team at our Marine Aquaculture and Research Centre have successfully bred a number of clownfishes.
It is our responsibility to adopt sustainable practices in all aspects of our operation, breeding clownfish allows us to reduce the impact on the natural environment.
Displaying the clownfishes allows us to raise awareness of factors which may affect their survival in the wild in an attempt to better protect them.
Come see the clownfishes and learn about their habitat when you visit S.E.A. Aquarium.
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