Mar 13

This week is Climate Week in the UK, and here at ARKive we thought we’d take the opportunity to highlight some amazing species and the different ways they may be affected by climate change. 

Common clownfish image

Common clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris)

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.

Take part in ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge or find out how you can get involved in Climate Week.

View images of the common clownfish on ARKive.

Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author

  • Batten (March 14th, 2012 at 12:19 am):

    Wow, thanks for the post. Thats crazy that clown fish can change their sex. I never would have thought that was possible.