Clownfish and Tang
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Clownfish (or anemonefish) are a fascinating family of fish which have a unique symbiotic relationship with anemones. These anemones are poisonous, and sting any fish that touches it. The anemone fish, however, has developed an immunity to the sting (believed to be linked to a chemical on its surface combined with a "relationship" built with the anemone, which recognises the fish as "part of itself"), and therefore is able to hide n the safety of the anemone when threatened. In return, it is also believed that the clownfish provide some food for their host anemone. There are some 30 species of clownfish. Some are very fussy about the species of their host anemone, and will only take up residence in their selected species. Others are happy to share any anemone.
Tang (also called surgeonfish because of a sharp spine in the tail that can be used for defence or fighting) are wonderfully varied fish, with over 50 species. They can also be dramatically coloured (such as the powder-blue tang featured above). They vary in size, but can be as large as 75 cm!
Comments on images (numbered from top left to bottom right):1/ A couple of black-foot anemonefish in a Heteractis Magnifica Anemone. This is the only anemone this species will choose as host (they are fussy fish!) and this species of fish is unique to the the Maldives and nearby Sri Lanka.
2/ A blackfoot clown taking refuge in the anemone from the photographer.
3/ Another blackfoot clown in another anemone.
4/ A pair of Clark's Anemonefish in a carpet anemone (this species will squat in any anemone).
5/ A shoal of powder-blue tang, one of the most strikingly coloured of marine tropical fish. Also in the picture is a Sheephead Parrotfish.
6/ This dense shoal is beautiful to see in the wild. In captivity, it is considered very difficult to keep more than one Tang of the same species because of their territorial behaviour.
7/ A close-up of a powder-blue tang feeding on algae. Note the living coral in the picture.
8/ A Yellow Tang. Ok - you may have noticed that this is not a species found in the Maldives! This is one of a few extra pictures sneaked in from snorkelling in Hawaii. Note the red urchin.
9/ Lined Surgeonfish swimming away (as would you from a strange masked creature holding a camera!). The spine on this species is poisonous.
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