My diving buds know that I am a bit nuts about anemone fish. I just can’t swim past an anemone inhabited by these cute and colourful little fish without trying my luck at getting a pleasing shot. They are frustrating to photograph though, as they are in perpetual motion. They scoot all around and burrow into their host anemones, especially when divers or other perceived predators approach. Patience is required 😉.
Anemone fish and their host anemones enjoy a fairly complex symbiotic relationship – among other mutual benefits, the anemone fish aerates the anemone with its constant motion, and possibly attracts prey to the anemone (which is a carnivorous, stationary animal, with a mouth). The little fish rub themselves frequently on the anemone to coat themselves in the anemone’s toxins, to which they are immune, and which protects them from predators. Quite often there will be a mated pair, and sometimes a family with little ones, living on a single anemone.
This Spinecheek Anemone fish (a cousin of Nemo) was alone in his little bubble anemone, so probably a juvenile just starting to live independently. If there had been a female Spinecheek with him, she would have been larger, and a darker, duskier red. All anemone fish start out as males. They undergo sex change to female based on social order, so this little guy very well could be a mama soon.
Image captured in Alor, Indonesia.