My group of clownfish all live in our anemone. Anemones are animals that have stinging cells, called nematocysts, that they use to catch and eat fish that swim past. But these stinging cells don't hurt us clownfish because we have a protective slime layer that keeps us from getting stung. We live in a symbiotic, relationship with our anemone: it protects us from almost all of our predators and in return the anemone eats scraps of food that we drop. We also protect our anemone from predators like butterflyfish and turtles! Because the anemones help us and we help the anemone, our relationship is what scientists call mutualistic. We call it a pretty sweet deal!
I'm famous! That's right, I am the same species as the hero "Nemo" from the movie Finding Nemo. Here's something they didn't mention in the movie, though: All clownfish are born males and then only some of us become females later in life. Pretty crazy, huh? We also live in small groups and the largest female is always in charge! And check this out: if a large female dies then the largest male will change to become a female and take charge!
I love - absolutely LOVE - to munch on turf algae and tiny zooplankton. Turf algae is a delicious mix of small marine plants, and zooplankton is a mix of microscopic animals. I also snack on small shrimp. Because I eat both plants and animals, I am an omnivore.
Being famous can be dangerous! Many people want us in their own aquariums. That means that lots of people catch us to sell to families, and populations of clownfish are dropping in some areas. Humans need to be careful to keep as many of us in our natural habitat as possible, so we don't go extinct!
Reefs are in danger, and that means so is my home!