Clown Fish Facts and Information for Kids by
Subfamily: Amphiprioninae Family: Pomacentridae Also known as: Clown Anemonefish Do you know Why they are called â€œClown Fishâ€?: Clown fish carry an active happy mood, bright color stripes and their usual bouncing movements among the sea anemone make them look like clowns. Number of species in the ocean: 29 species of clown fish are recognized, one from genus Premnas, while the other are from genus Amphiprion Colors: orange, yellow, red and black with white strips or patches. Size: The small species can reach up to 8 to10 centimeters while the larger ones can reach up to 15 to18 centimeters. Habitat: Clown fish live in warm water surroundings, at the bottom of the sea in sheltered reefs or in shallow lagoons.
Where does a clown fish live: You can find them in the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea. Clown fish mutual-ism: Clown fish and sea anemone are symbiotic and share mutually beneficial relationship, each providing a number of benefits to the other. Clown fish thrive under anemone protection, clown fish behavior is very aggressive and are known to defend their territory ‘the sea anemone’ that they live in. The clown fish attracts other fish with its bright colors into the poisonous tentacles of the sea anemone, which the polyp kills with its poison and then feeds on it. The clown fish also eats up the dead tentacles of the sea anemone and keeps the surroundings clean. In return, Sea anemone offers a beneficial hosing site for the clown fish. It cleans its host ‘the clownfish’ by eating parasites on its body, it also benefits from the nutrients it picks up from the clown fish’s excrement. The sea anemone not only protects it from predators but also provides it with food through the leftover scraps of its meal, the leftovers include copepods, isopods and zooplankton.
Eating habits: Being omnivorous they feed on algae, plankton, mollusks, and crustacea. The diet of the clown fish also consists of copepods, mysids, isopods, zooplankton and undigested food from their host anemones. Adaptation: Just after birth, the clown fish is subjected to the host anemone’s scent for only a short period of time, but the fish posses the memory to store the scent and is able to recall it later in life. Due to the co-evolution of certain species of clown fish with specific anemone host species, clown fish have become resistant over time to the stings of the anemones in which they live. This resistance is enabled by a coat of mucus produced all over the body of the clown fish, which also coats their body. It is an assumption that the mucus coating of the clown fish might be based on sugars rather than proteins, which would mean that anemones fail to recognize the fish as a ‘potential food source’ and do not fire their poisonous nematocysts or sting organelles.
Clown fish follow Hierarchy: Clown fish follow a strict dominance hierarchy in their group. The biggest and most aggressive female leads other fishes. In a group only two clown fish, a male and a female, reproduce through external fertilization. Clown fish change gender: Clown fish are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning all clown fish are born and develop into males first, but when they mature, they can change their gender to female. Example: If the dominating female clown fish is removed from the group, due to its death, one of the largest and most dominant males will become a female. The remaining sub-dominant males will move up a rank in the hierarchy. Laying eggs: Clown fish can lay up to a several hundred eggs at a time, the eggs are laid on any flat surface close to their host anemone. They spawn eggs at the time of full moon and they hatch two hours later only after dusk. The male clown fish guards the eggs until they hatch which is about 6 to 10 days.