The genus Amphiprion
includes about 29 species of marine clownfish, also called anemone fish. This genus, along with the maroon clownfish, (Premnas biaculeatus
, the only species in its genus), make up the clownfish subfamily Amphiprioninae within the damselfish family Pomacentridae. Found in shallow lagoons and reefs in the Indo-Pacific, all clownfish species form close mutualistic relationships with about 10 poison-producing anemone species, especially those in the anemone genera Heteractis
, and species Entacmaea quadricolor
. Anemonefish have a preferred anemone host species, but most will live with several different anemones. Living their whole lives within an anemone's tentacles, 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 hierarchical 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