The genus Amphiprion includes 29 species of marine clownfish, also called anemone fish. They belong to the damselfish family Pomacentridae. Along with one other fish, the maroon clownfish Premnas biaculeatus (the only species in its genus), anemonefish make up the subfamily Amphiprioninae. Found in shallow lagoons and reefs in the Indo-Pacific, all of these species form close mutualistic relationships with about 10 poison-containing anemone species, especially those in the anemone genera Heteractis and Stichodactyla, and species Entacmaea quadricolor. Anemonefish have a preferred anemone host species, but most will live with several different anemones. To their host, anemonefish provide protection from predators, possibly nutrients through their fecal matter, and help to remove parasites. Their bright coloration may also lure foodfish to the anemone, and their movements increase water circulation around the anemone. Anemonefish secrete protective mucus that allows them to survive anemone poisons, and gain the benefit of a safe home. Omnivores, anemonefish eat zooplankton and algae. Anemonefish live in groups, and are serial hermaphrodites: all start off life as males, then later reverse sex to become breeding females. As males, they protect the eggs and larvae, which are laid at the base of their host anemone. Many clownfish species are bred in captivity, and are popular fishes for marine aquaria.
(Fautin and Allen 1992; Wikipedia 2012; Zubi 2009)
- Fautin, D. and Allen, G.R., 1992. Field guide to anemone fishes and their host sea anemones. Chapter 2, Anemonefishes. Retrieved March 7, 2012 from http://www.nhm.ku.edu/inverts/ebooks/ch2.html
- Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. February 14, 2012. “Moorish idol”. Retrieved March 7, 2012 from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Moorish_idol&oldid=476828871">http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Moorish_idol&oldid=476828871">http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Moorish_idol&oldid=476828871
- Zubi, T. 2009. Anemonefishes (Amphiprioninae). Retrieved March 7, 2012 from http://www.starfish.ch/reef/anemonefish.html