If you’ve seen the film ‘Finding Nemo’, you may already be familiar with clownfish and sea anemones. But, do you understand why they can live together? Or how each benefits the other? This lesson will explore the symbiosis between the clownfish and the sea anemone.
Types of Symbiotic Relationships
Peanut butter and jelly. Summer and swimsuits.
A dog and a bone. Sea anemones and clownfish. Yes, some things just belong together. But wait, a sea anemone and a clownfish? Don’t worry, it’ll all make sense by the time this lesson is complete.
In the world of biology, some critters seem to be destined to be together, like the sea anemone and the clownfish. In biology terms, organisms that live together form what’s known as a symbiotic relationship. But not all symbiotic relationships are the same.
Before we get into the details of the clownfish and sea anemone, let’s look at the different types of symbiotic relationships.
- A symbiotic relationship where one species benefits and one is unaffected is known as commensalism.
- When one species benefits and the other is harmed, it’s known as parasitism.
- Finally, in the case of the sea anemone and the clownfish, both species benefit. This type of relationship is called mutualism.
Clownfish and Sea Anemones
Clownfish and sea anemones both live in saltwater habitats. There are numerous species of clownfish, and they come in a variety of colors from orange to black.
Their colorful appearance kind of looks like a clown’s face paint, so it’s no wonder they got the name clownfish.
Sea anemones look likes plants, but they’re actually a predatory animal that belongs in the same phylum as coral and jellyfish.
They kill their prey with their nematocysts, which are poisonous cells that can be found in the sea anemone’s tentacles. These special cells can be shot out of the sea anemone, thus delivering venom to potential prey.
|Corals (Turritopsis nutricula) pictured here, which reaches