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Whitsunday Anemone Fish - Find Nemo!

Whilst diving in the Whitsundays do not miss the opportunity to dive on one of our Nemo trails. In the Whitsundays you can identify 5 different types of anemone fish (nemo), all very colourful. The anemones in which they live in are amazing creatures. They will open up and show their stinging tentacles, often with bright blue or pink tips when feeding. While digesting, they will close up and show you their outer layer which can be white, green, red, blue, yellow or pink.

The nemo lives in perfect symbiotic relationship with the anemone. Fiercely protecting and cleaning it, getting protection in return. They are unaffected by the stinging tentacles due to a substance in the mucous covering their bodies which prevents the nematocysts (stinging cells) from firing.

A dominant female is the largest member of the group, and her mate, the dominant male, the second largest. There are also up to four lower-ranking males. There is little aggression from the large female toward the males, but fierce in-fighting between the males maintains the pecking order.

The lowest ranking male may be driven out and forced to seek a place in a group within another anemone host or die. If the female dies, the dominant male assumes her position within the hierarchy and over the course of a few days changes sex.

The Barrier Reef Anemone fish is a nesting fish. A few days before mating aggression from the dominant male towards the female increases, and at the same time he begins clearing a nest site, usually on a rock close to the host anemone. The rock is cleaned of algae, sometimes with the assistance of the female.

When spawning takes place, the female zigzags over the nest site, the male follows fertilising the eggs which have been deposited.

All the fry are born sexless - they develop into males first, and into females only if they rise to the top of the hierarchy within a particular hosted group!

Angie
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