How the Clowns and Anemones live together

Living among stinging tentacles!

Many people call them clownfish because of their bright colors. But they are more properly called anemonefish. That is because they are always found living in or right beside a sea anemone. The deadly stinging tentacles of the host anemone provide protection for the anemonefish and in turn, the anemonefish lures food to its host. Such a relationship is called obligate symbiosis.

Scientists have long studied this relationship and wondered how the small anemonefish can be immune to the tentacles' stings.

There are many theories but one thing is certain. There is a thick slime secreted by the anemonefish that provides some of the biochemical protection. It is thought this may prevent the anemone from discharging its nematocyst stinger.

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Clark's Anemonefish, Sulawesi, Indonesia