Bali Clown Fish - NEMO


Nemo The Tango Dancer

Ever since the movie Finding Nemo came out people are really excited to see a clown fish on their dives. Usually it is the first fish they immediately recognised when under water. It is exactly the same in OK Divers in Padang Bai. I don’t know if you know, but there are 28 species of clown fish. They can be orange, yellow, maroon and many other colours. Although the most common is the percula clown fish which is bright orange with white stripes exactly same like the movie star Nemo. One can find them in warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Clown fish live on the ocean floor, where they form a symbiotic and mutualistic relationship with sea anemones, each providing a number of benefits to the other. Clown fish and anemones basically hang out all the time and help each other equally often. Anemones are fish-eating animals that look like underwater flowers in the wind and have hundreds of poisonous tentacles and they are hungry very hungry creatures. In fact they hungrier than prettier and clown fish are well aware of those circumstances and they have learned to make nice living out of that without being harmed. Ever since the little clown fish is born from the egg, usually laid on the side of the anemone, they start with their crazy dance of adaptation. To avoid being harmed by the anemones they developed a funky set of moves which they use for approaching the anemone's poisonous tentacles. Clowns tango dancing allows the tentacles to graze their bodies until they slowly build up an immunity to the poison.

But they don’t do this for nothing there is reword on their minds far before they get their poison proof coat. Anemone enjoys the dancers! They attract pray, clean the anemones by eating dead tentacles and protect them agains other predators so anemone pays back with protecting the crazy moving stripy fish against different predators and leaving them scraps form its meals. Clownfish and certain damselfish are the only species of fish that can avoid the potent poison of a sea anemone and can develop such an amazing symbiotic relation. Not many people actually know that in a group of clownfish, there is a strict dominance hierarchy. The largest and most aggressive female is found at the top. Only two clownfish, a male and a female, in a group are aloud to reproduce through external fertilisation. Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites. I know it sounds funny, but it means they develop into males first, and only when they mature, they may become females. If the female clownfish is removed from the group, such as by death or maybe being mum too often, one of the largest and most dominant males, the Nemo Hercules, will become a female. The remaining males will move up a rank in the hierarchy and hope one day they will get a chance to try female perception of the world too.