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False Percula Clownfish
Transcript of False Percula Clownfish
Scientific Name: Amphiprion Ocellaris
By: Gunn Hong and Angela Vujosevic Genetic Variation Clownfish depend on anemones because clownfish are small and would be preyed upon by larger fish if they were not living within and protected by the stinging tentacles of the anemone. The clownfish is covered with a specialized mucus that prevents it being stung by the host anemone. Safe within the anemone tentacles, the clownfish can feed on planktonic organisms that float by.
Anemones depend on clownfish because the clownfish drives away hungry butterfly fish that would nibble on the anemone’s tentacles. The clownfish cleans up the leftovers, waste material and debris that might clutter up the anemone and invite parasites and algae. They have few predators but their main threat are humans. Wild Percula Clownfish breeds all year long. Although there are no characteristics to differentiate male and female, all clownfish are sexually immature when hatched. (They do not have a pre-determined sex, and develop into males and females depending on the hierarchy of the school.) They live in small groups that consist of one breeding pair and up to four other individuals that do not breed. The Percula Clownfish group has a strict hierarchy. The biggest fish is the breeding female, the second biggest fish is the breeding male and the rest of the group is made up by smaller fish. One very interesting feature is the Percula Clownfish's ability to change sex. If the female dies, the male will turn into female and the largest non-breeder will turn into a breeding male. Mating Habits Percula Clownfish always deposits the eggs in a spot where it will be protected by the anemone. The egg laying process takes around 30 minutes and will usually take place in the morning. One batch can consist of 100 to 1000 eggs. The eggs are immediately fertilized by the male Percula Clownfish, and he will stay around the anemone to protect them. A male Percula Clownfish with eggs can be extremely aggressive. The eggs will hatch after roughly one week.
When the young Percula Clownfish grow older they will form a hierarchy and display a lot of aggressive behavior towards each other. Males are typically more aggressive to each other than to the females. The largest male will attack the second largest male, which will subsequently attack someone further down the hierarchy and so on until the smallest Percula Clownfish is driven away from the anemone. The fish at the bottom of the hierarchy will even have a stunted growth due to the high amount of competition between the Percula Clownfishes. Closely Related Species The True Percula Clownfish, or Amphiprion Percula, is typically orange with three white bars and has 10 (rarely 9) dorsal spines. The True Percula Clownfish usually has jet black margins of varied widths around its white bars, often of which can be rather thick.
Another related specie to the False Percula Clownfish is the Cinnamon Clownfish, or Amphiprion Melanopus. This specie max size is 5 inches and has a reddish-brown base color with a single white stripe. Sea anemones generally have a life-span of 60 to 80 years and even longer. It is also believed that they have the ability to live indefinitely if not for their predators. There are about 6,500 different species of sea anemones. Sea anemones can be found worldwide. Many are endangered as their habitat become more and more threatened by global warming. The increased temperature causes coral bleaching which is when masses of coral die and the reduction in body size. How Climate Change will Affect Sea Anemones One species of Clownfish has recently been shown to use soft corals as an alternative habitat, something only ever previously witnessed in captivity. It is unclear if such behavior will be adapted by other species of Clownfish. Possible Replacement Habitat Increases in ocean acidity levels have been shown to affect Clownfish’s ability in navigating and locating their anemone homes. Adult Clownfish can still become confused and lost when venturing away from their host anemone. An extended period away from their host commonly leads to the loss of their immunity to their anemones’ poison, are much less likely to find mates, and a much greater risk of predation. In order to regain this immunity, the fish must perform an elaborate ‘dance’, which may last up to several hours and further increases the chances of predation. Juvenile fish that are unable to locate new anemones to inhabit also have a much greater chance of returning to their original place of birth. While individuals may be considered fortunate for at least finding protection, the likelihood of inbreeding in these fish is greatly increased.
Juvenile Clownfish have been shown to develop faster as water temperatures increase. There are benefits to individuals such as faster reproductive turnover, but more rapid growth will generally mean that individuals disperse shorter distances from their parents’ anemone before their development stage triggers the instinct to find their own anemone. The resulting of shorter distances means greater competition for local dwelling places.
Clownfish are known to only reproduce within a very small temperature range. Therefore, an increase in temperature could discourage Clownfish from breeding and cause eggs to perish. As ocean temperatures warm, Clownfish may be forced to find cooler water. How Does Climate Change Impact The False Percula Clownfish? The variation of surviving sea anemone's sting will most likely survive because it plays an important role in finding a habitat. In order to live in the same habitat while climate changes, the False Percula Clownfish would have to learn how to adapt to the chemical changes and the ocean acidity levels. Perhaps by genetically changing the outside scales that help the Clownfish adapt to the sea anemone. Otherwise the False Percula Clownfish would be forced to migrate to cooler waters. Adaptations Need To Possibly Survive Climate Change And Genetic Variation