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clownfish in water
All Animals

Common Clownfish

Clownfish inhabit shallow water coral reefs, where it lives amongst the venomous tentacles of the carpet anemones. The tentacles of the anemones normally sting other fish, but clownfish excrete a mucus over their skin that tricks the anemone into believing it is touching itself, so it does not sting.


Animal Facts

Scientific Name

Amphiprion ocellaris


Western Pacific and Indian Oceans, Red Sea

Location in the Zoo

Kipp Aquarium, Natural Encounters

Cool Animal Fact

Both the anemone and clownfish live in a symbiotic relationship, meaning the anemone benefits from the presence of the clownfish, while the clownfish benefits from living with the anemone. It is thought that the clownfish feeds upon parasites and debris amongst the anemone’s tentacles, and in return scares away fish that may prey upon the anemone, as well as giving the anemone better water circulation as it fans its fins while swimming around. It is possible that the clownfish also lures fish for the anemone to kill and eat.