September 7, 2015
Delighted staff at Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium are celebrating finding their own Nemos after the arrival of four captive-bred baby clownfish.
The tiny orange and white striped fish – exact miniature replicas of their parents – gained worldwide fame thanks to the animated Disney/Pixar blockbuster Finding Nemo.
The quartet are currently being looked after in a special nursery display which they share with a shoal of yellow tailed blue damsel fish.
“Clownfish have always held a fascination with visitors, even before the film came out,” said Blue Reef’s Leanna Lawson.
“I think people love the idea of a fish that is able to make its home among the stinging tentacles of sea anemones.
“However now virtually every person visiting the aquarium – especially those with young children asks to see them. I guess their bright colours and comical name also helps people relate to them,” she added.
The clownfish are thought to be able to survive among the anemone’s venomous tentacles because they cover their bodies with a layer of mucous secreted by the anemone.
The anemone then thinks the clownfish is another tentacle and doesn’t sting it!
Both species have a symbiotic relationship – the clownfish are protected from predators by the stinging tentacles and the anemone picks up scraps of food dropped by the fish.
During breeding the eggs are laid close to the host anemone and cared for by the male who will often encourage the anemones tentacles to provide a protective canopy above the developing fish.
Clownfish fathers are so protective that they have even been known to attack divers who venture too close to their young!