Many aquatic species struggle to live in underwater conditions. Clownfish however, are excellent at using their strengths to survive the harsh conditions of the sea.
When a clownfish is young, it finds its own
, or tentacle sea creature, in which to live. An anemone protects the clownfish with its poisonous tentacles that can kill and caution other creatures to stay away.
Unlike many other fish, clownfish have adapted to live among the anemone. They secrete a thick layer of mucus on the scales of their skin that protects them from the anemones' poisonous tentacles. Because clownfish are slow-swimming, they are easy prey while out and about. However, once the clownfish enters the safety of the anemone, predators are typically too scared to follow.
The common clownfish lives in nine different anemone species in parts of the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific Ocean. Because a clownfish lives in an anemone most of its life, it only has a few ways to survive when outside of this safety net. One strategy it uses to get food is to wait for certain types of algae to grow near its host anemone. This way, the fish can avoid running into predators while feeding. When not protected by its anemone, the clownfish uses the lateral lines on their heads to detect movement via vibrations in the water.
Though clownfish are easy targets, they have adapted some truly uncommon defenses against danger in the big, bad ocean. Further, a clownfish can lay 200 to 400 eggs at one time, so the TV population continues to grow larger and their species lives on.