Thanks to the cartoon “Finding Nemo”, the clownfish has become a worldwide superstar. However, did you ever think of finding “Nemo” in Hong Kong waters?
The “Nemo” found in Hong Kong waters is the Clarke’s Clownfish. The most noticeable behavior of clownfish is the mutualism relationship with the sea anemone. The special mucus on its skin not only helps the clownfish to decompose the toxin released by the cnidoblast (stinging cells) of sea anemone, it also restrains the emgergence of cnidoblast on the tentacles of sea anemone. This specialized feature helps the clownfish to live within its stinging host and be kept away from predators. On the other hand, the clownfish cleans up the anemone’s dead tissue and parasite while preventing the precipitation of waste by swimming through its crevices.
Clownfish is a gregarious species with a matriarchal society. Each anemone hosts only one dominant pair of clownfish at any time. This dominant pair would lead the other male and juvenile fish in the group. If the female clownfish in the dominant pair was dead or disappears, its partner would change its gender in a few weeks and become the female leader of the group, while the strongest member in the group will couple with its new leader.
Name in Chinese: 克 氏 雙 鋸 魚
Scientific name: Amphiprion clarkii
Site of discovery: Within sea anemones in Hoi Ha Wan and Tung Ping Chau Marine Parks