Marine Talk: Oceallaris Clownfish.
Hello there! You may know me as Nemo but I really prefer the name Oceallaris Clownfish. Hang on, I think I’m called Anemonefish too. I’m having a little bit of an identity crisis. You see, I don’t even know my gender anymore.
Once upon a time, I was an outgoing guy and I especially like to play with toy soldiers and cars, you know typical boy stuff. Now, looking pretty and dainty is part of my daily routine. I am 101 per cent sure that I’m a woman. Yup, story of my life.
I often wonder why this has to happen to me. I guess that’s just how nature works, often in mysterious ways. The marine biologists say that I’m considered to be a sequential hermaphrodite, which means that my species will develop first into males and then possibly into females. Imagine, having a family of brothers and then, turning into sisters. Ok, now try to imagine the toilet queue — absolutely crazy if you want to know.
That said, the process isn’t irreversible. If, for example, all the females die, the largest male would then become the female and the largest young female fish will transform into a guy — someone’s got to continue the lineage.
But being a female has its perks. Female control males with aggressive dominance and, as a result, we control the creation of other females. Go, girl power!
Despite all my shortcomings and confusion, the anemone remains by my side; a buddy through thick and thin. We are in, as what the experts call, a mutualistic relationship, meaning we scratch each other’s back. The anemone feed on my fecal matter for nutrients (I know, I know. But I don’t judge) and as for me, I consume parasite growing on them. The anemone also offers me sanctuary, protecting me against bigger fishes, like the hideous Great Barracuda, with its stinging tentacles, while I fend off predatory butterflyfishes from my buddy. Good thing that I’m immune to its sting.
Oh, don’t be fooled by my vibrant appearance, I am quite adept at camouflaging myself. The bright orange base and the three white bars on my body enable me to be as stealthy as a ninja when I hide amongst fluorescent corals and anemones.
If you are interested to see me, feel free to visit the South China Sea zone at the S.E.A. Aquarium. See you there, just don’t call me Nemo.
Diet: Zooplankton, copepods
Family name: Pomacentridae