Anemone Fish – Size, Behavior And 4 Interesting Facts

Anemone Fish

Last updated on July 30th, 2022 at 11:05 pm

Anemone fish, from the genus Amphiprion, which consists of about 30 types of Indo-Pacific fishes of the family Pomacentridae, known for their association with big sea anemones.

Anemone fish live and hide amongst the anemone’s tentacle, swimming in and out unhurt by the stinging cells, called nematocyst, that exist on the tentacles which can be deadly to other fishes. The representative type, typical in the Indo-Australian island chain, is A. percula, likewise called the orange clownfish. Brightly-colored orange, with 3 large, blue-white bands circling around the body, it grows to a length of about 5 centimeters (2 inches).

Anemone fish and Anemone relationship

Anemone Fish

The mutual relationship between an anemone (Heteractis Magnifica) and an anemone fish (Amphiron ocellaris) is a traditional example of 2 organisms benefiting each other; the anemone gives the anemone fish with shelter and protection, while the anemone fish gives the anemone nutrients in the form of waste while also frightening and chasing away prospective predator fish.

In a mutualistic relationship, both types benefit. Sea anemones live connected to the surface of coral reefs. They trap their victim with stinging cells called nematocysts, which lie on their tentacles. When a little animal contacts an anemone’s tentacle, nematocysts launch toxic substances. This immobilizes the stung animal, enabling the anemone to quickly bring the animal into its mouth for eating.

While other fish catch these toxic stings, anemone fish produces a compound in the mucous covering their bodies that reduce the shooting of nematocysts.

This permits the fish to swim conveniently in between the tentacles of anemones, producing a safeguarded environment in which prospective predators are exterminated by anemone stings. This plainly benefits the anemone fish, however, how about the sea anemones? The brightly-colored anemone fish bring in other fish trying to find a meal. These unwary potential predators are then captured and consumed by the anemones.

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Size & description of the anemone fish

Anemone Fish

Many false clownfish are orange with 3 white bands on the head and body. The white bands are laid out in black. Their bodies are a bit more than 3 inches (88 millimeters) long usually, but they might grow up to 4 inches (110 mm), according to the Animal Diversity Web (ADW). The tail is rounded and the dorsal fin is lined with 11 spines.


Anemone fish, like the clownfish, reside in the coral reef off the coasts of Australia and Southeast Asia as far north as southern Japan. They are discovered generally around a specific type of anemones, an animal that anchors itself to the sea flooring and utilizes its tentacles to draw in food.

When the victim or predator touches it, the anemone’s tentacles have stinging cells called nematocysts that launch toxins.

False Clownfish (the anemone fish), however, develop resistance to the released toxins by carefully touching the tentacles with various parts of their bodies. A layer of mucous is developed, which safeguards the clownfish from the toxins. The pair forms a cooperative relationship.

The anemone provides security and leftovers for the anemone fish, while the anemone fish brings food to the anemone and preens its host, getting rid of parasites.


All anemone fish, including clownfish, are hermaphrodites. Research shows they are all born male. They have the capability to turn themselves female, once the modification is made, they can’t return to being male. Often the modification is made when breeding. 2 males will end up being mates and the bigger, dominant fish will become the female.

These social fish reside in groups that are led by one dominant female. The 2nd biggest fish is the dominant male while all of the other fish in the group are smaller-sized males.

The dominant male will end up being a female to replace if the female dies.

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The biggest of the smaller-sized males will then become the dominant male of the group.

Anemone fish interact by making popping and clicking sounds, according to a research study on the journal PLOS One. Scientists state the chatter assists keep the rank and file amongst group members. “Noise might be an intriguing technique for avoiding dispute in between group members,” lead research study author Orphal College, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Liège, Belgium, says in a 2012 article.


Anemone fish are omnivores, which implies they consume both meat and plants.

They usually consume algae, zooplankton, worms, and little shellfishes.

When small, the fish tend to remain within the boundaries of their anemone host. As they get bigger, they will look for food, though they do not endeavor far more than a couple of meters from the anemone.

Breeding & offspring

Orange Clownfish

Little is understood particularly about anemone fish breeding habits, however, the basic habits of anemone fish are understood. All anemone fish are monogamous.

Prior to spawning, the male prepares a nest by clearing an area on a bare rock near the anemone. He then courts a female with a show of extended fins, chasing and biting the female fish.

He chases after the female to the nest, however, after that it depends on her to make the next move.

She will make a number of passes over the nest prior to depositing her eggs. She will lay from 100 to 1,000 eggs, which are 3 to 4 millimeters long. The male then passes over the nest and releases sperm to fertilize the eggs. The female then swims off.

The male does the majority of the “egg sitting.” He will fan them and consume any eggs that are sterile or damaged by fungi. The eggs hatch 6 to 8 days later. The larvae drift away and spend about 10 days adrift. They begin their lives transparent or clear, but as they start to grow they begin to get the color of their types.

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As juveniles, the young will settle to the bottom of the reef to look for a host anemone.

Do anemones take advantage of anemone fish?

The mutual relationship between an anemone and a anemone fish is a timeless example of 2 organisms benefiting from each other; the anemone offers the anemone fish security and shelter, while the anemone fish offers the anemone nutrients in the type of waste while likewise frightening its predators.

Can anemones kill humans?

Many sea anemones are safe to people, however, a couple of extremely hazardous types (especially Actinodendron arboreum, Stichodactyla spp. and Phyllodiscus semoni) have actually triggered serious injuries and are possibly deadly.

Can a fish endure an anemone sting?

The only fish that can make it through an anemone sting are ones with an additional thick, protective mucous covering or ‘slime coat’ on their bodies. It’s necessary that fish adjust to their ‘host’ anemone in advance. Otherwise, they will not have the ability to easily move through the anemone’s tentacles without being stung.

Is an anemone a fish?

Anemone fish, of the genus Amphiprion, of about 30 types of Indo-Pacific fishes making up the genus Amphiprion of the family Pomacentridae, kept in mind for their association with big sea anemones

Can Anemone eliminate anemone fish?

Anemone tentacles sting and eliminate other types of fish, however, the anemone fish is secured from the anemone’s sting. It is thought that the fish is safeguarded due to a mucous coat on the exterior of its skin.

At first, the  fish are stung by the tentacles, however, in time, they seem unhurt.

Interesting facts about the anemone fish:

Since they look like the orange clownfish, Anemone fish are likewise called incorrect clownfish. There are some subtle distinctions in between them, according to the Florida Museum of Natural history:

  • The clownfish anemone has thin black bands, while the orange clownfish has thick black bands separating the orange and white coloration of the body.
  • The clown anemonefish typically has a somewhat less dazzling color than the orange clownfish.
  • Seen head-on, the head of the clown anemonefish appears plain while the orange clownfish’s head has a noticeable bulging face comparable to a frog.
  • The eyes of the clown anemone fish are grayish orange and seem bigger than they in fact are; the orange clownfish has an intense orange iris, which has the result of making the eyes look smaller sized.
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