Species: Common clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
Status: Not Assessed
Interesting Fact: The common clownfish can change from male to female!
Most famed for inspiring the character Nemo in the Walt Disney film ‘Finding Nemo’, the common clownfish is the most familiar of the clownfish species. Clownfish are the only fish known to be able to live amongst the tentacles of anemones. The tentacles of the anemones normally sting other fish, but clownfish excrete a mucus over their skin that protects them among the anemone’s tentacles. The anemone and clownfish live in a symbiotic relationship, with the clownfish feeding upon parasites and debris amongst the anemone’s tentacles, and in return scaring away animals that may prey upon the anemone. Clownfish are highly territorial, living in groups that guard their host anemone against other clownfish.
Climate Change: The greatest threat to the common clownfish is global climate change, which threatens this species through a combination of habitat loss, disruption of its senses and direct effects on its behaviour. Increases in ocean acidity levels have been shown to affect clownfishes’ ability to detect the chemical signals necessary for navigating to anemones.
For more information on climate change, visit ARKive’s climate change pages.
Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author