Size – The smallest average 7-8cm and the largest can reach up to 17cm. While most species average around 8 cm.
Clown Fish vary by species but they are generally yellow, orange, or a reddish color. Many species have white bars or patches that run across its body. Most of the time these white markings are outlined by black. The convolution of the fish with their host anemones resulted in an immunity to the anemones poisons.
All anemones fish are hermaphrodites (all born male). They have the ability to change themselves into female, but they cannot be reversed back to male once changed.
They are commonly found in the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Pacific Ocean, Southeast Asia, and regions around Japan.
They enjoy inhabiting the bottom of shallow seas in sheltered reefs or shallow lagoons.
No species of anemone fish can be found in the Atlantic Ocean.
Anemonefish feed on the undigested food from their host anemone and in turn the anemone receives nutrients from the fecal matter of the anemonefish.
Zooplankton and Algae also make up a small portion of their diet.
Anemonefish and sea anemones have a symbiotic relationship, meaning they provide many benefits to each other. The Clown Fish protects the sea anemone from its predators and parasites, and gets nutrients from the anemone fish’s feces. In return the anemone protects the fish from their predators, as well as provides food and shelter for them.
They are very social and are often found living in groups. These groups are led by one dominant female and then the second largest fish in the group is the dominant male, while all the others are smaller male fish.
Whenever the dominant female fish of the group dies, the largest dominant male will become female and take her place.
There are 30 different species within the subfamily of anemonefish called Amphiprioninae of the family Pomacentridae.
Two theories for how the anemonefish is able to survive the sea anemones poison are:
The coating that the anemonefish contain around their body is made of sugar rather than protein. This would cause the anemone to believe that the fish was not a food source and would not use their nematocysts (sting organelles).