Join the Seattle Aquarium for Winter Fishtival, where we’ll feature different sea animals and fun activities each day. December 29 is devoted to clownfish and some of the other amazing animals that live in and around coral reefs. Read on for a few facts about clownfish, and then come learn more during Winter Fishtival at the Seattle Aquarium!
The proper name for clownfish is actually clown anemonefish, because this species makes its home within the tentacles of sea anemones. As you may know, those tentacles are venomous: fish-eating sea anemones use them to sting and paralyze prey that makes the mistake of coming too close.
Clownfish, however, are covered with a mucus layer that makes them immune to the anemones’ stings. And clownfish are host-specific; most species have just one particular anemone that they use as a host. The relationship offers benefits to both sides: the clownfish, dwelling literally within the arms of a predator, enjoys safety from its own predators—and picks up occasional scraps from the anemone’s meals. And the anemone receives nutrients from the clownfish’s poop (funny but true!). Also, because clownfish are quite territorial, they attempt to chase away anything that ventures too close to their home turf—including divers.
Watch our video to see some of the Seattle Aquarium’s clownfish in action!