The flower of the sea
It got its name from a beautiful flower but the anemone is anything but a plant. Despite its innocent look this beautiful animal is lethal for some of the smaller creatures of the sea like fish and plankton. This meat-eating invertebrate is a diverse organism and can live for as long as 80 years and more. They do not age, quite fascinating I know. This means that they can live on forever, but at some point they will fall prey to predators.
Did you know that there exists more than 1000 different species of the anemone? The anemone mostly thrive on tropical reefs, although there are species adapted to relatively cold waters. You can find the anemone in oceans from the tropics to the poles and they can grow up to nearly 2 m.
With their beautiful and various colors and reaching tentacles the anemone really are nice to rest your eyes on. They might look harmless but they can be quite vicious. Anemones has several stinging polyps. The lightest touch will activate their venom filled tentacles, making firing harpoon like filaments penetrate the prey. The venom will paralyze the fish which let the anemone navigate the prey down their mouth located in the middle of their bodies.
I help you if you help me. This flower like animal has a few unusual tricks up its sleeve. They have symbiotic relationships with some other animals. One example is the clown fish that lives within the arms of the anemone. The clown fish is covered in a mucus layer that protects them from the anemone stings and let them live within their tentacles. Returning the favor the anemone fish keeps the anemone clean and they also let it have a snack on their remaining. This clever animal can also hitch a ride with other animals of the sea, such as crabs to change their hunting area.
Have you ever seen an anemone in movement? The anemones are capable of slow movement. They just simply swim with their tentacles or moving by flexing their body. And if you ever see an anemone taking a slowly stroll over the sea bed, it’s simply nothing weird by that. But it’s not anything you going to see every day, this lazy creature only move if they really have to.
How do they reproduce? The anemone can use both sexual and asexual reproduction. The asexual one means that they simply divide themselves in two where, each part forming a new animal, and they are now clones of each other. Fascinating little creatures as they are, other species are hermaphrodites producing both eggs and sperm.
At the beautiful Anemone reef close to Shark point you can lay eyes on an underwater landscape covered in anemones. Join us on a trip to this dive site, and learn more about these fascinating animals.
Also known as Clark’s Clown, Clarki Clown, Fish Clown, Chocolate Clownfish and Chocolate Anemonefish.
Is a small-sized fish which grows up to 15 cm. It is stocky, laterally compressed, and oval to rounded.
Found in pairs or family groups in most reef habitats from lagoons to outer reef slopes with an anemone.
It is colorful, with vivid black, white, and yellow stripes, though the exact pattern shows considerable geographical variation. Usually it is black dorsally and orange-yellow ventrally, the black areas becoming wider with age.
They feed on zooplankton and algae.
Anemonefish are specialised damselfish and live a symbiotic relationship with various anemones. Some anemonefish will only be found with one type of anemone, but others can live with many types. They are rarely found very far away from an anemone.
The fish is diurnal. It is a protrandous hermaphrodite, the male often changing sex to become a female. A male may keep a harem. It is dependent on sea anemones to provide a habitat and nesting sites. The fish has a mucous coat to protect it from anemone stings. It is a mutualistic relationship. The clownfishs help to attract prey items close to the anemone’s tentacles, and helps to defend it from tentacle-eating predators, such as butterflyfishes.
I personally recommend, when you see a Clark’s Anemonefish, check the anemone, often you will find other life forms such as; small crabs and shrimp.
Clown anemone fish, “Amphiprion ocellaris” are also known as common clown fish, false clown
Anemone fish, false anemone fish or simply “Nemo” from the Disney movie “Finding Nemo”.
The color pattern is the key feature used to identify anemone fish. It is normally bright orange with three white vertical bars and all the bars and fins have black borders around them. The fish maximum length is about 11 cm.
Anemone fish are found in the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, South East Asia region, northern Australia, and the Western Pacific. They are not known to the Caribbean, Mediterranean or the Atlantic Ocean.
Most anemone fish can be found in shallow water reefs or sand from 1 -18 meters depth
Anemone fish have an unusual symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with sea anemones. Normally, the stinging cells of an anemone’s tentacles release when fish brush against the tentacles, paralyze the fish. But anemone fish appear to be “at home” among the tentacles, even hiding between them as predators draw near. The most widespread theory is that these fish have a unique biochemical makeup in their mucus-layer that provides protection from the stinging cells.
Host-anemone-species are normally Heteractis magnifica, Stichodactyla gigantea, and Stichodactyla mertensii. Ones again there are different theories to what is actually going on in this symbiotic relationship; One theory is that the anemone fish chase off small creatures that prey on anemone and keeps it clean from debris and parasites, and the other is that anemone fish lure other fish for the anemone to kill and eat. What is not a theory though is that the rather clumsy anemonefish cannot live without their anemones. Without their anemone fish, some anemones are swiftly destroyed by predators, such as butterfly fish and turtles, which are immune to the anemone’s stings.
There is a strong hierarchy within the groups of anemone fish living in each anemone. Typically, a large female dominates. She mates only with the largest males. The female lays eggs in or near the anemone.
Some reef fish species are able to turn from females into males. This is actually a common ability. But anemone fish have the ability to sex-change from male to female! All anemone fish are born male with active male and dormant female reproductive organs. If the female dies, then the dominant male will sex-change into a female and a non-dominant male will become a dominant male. This allows anemone fish living in one anemone to remain self-sufficient in a way that if the female dies there is no need for the male to find a new mate. The responsibility for caring for the eggs then becomes the “new” female’s job.