Anemone & Clownfish

Sea Anemones are predators that attach themselves to rocks or coral. There, they sit and wait until a fish swims close enough to attack with its tentacles. When a fish swims by the anemone, its tentacles will shoot out a long poisonous thread. The toxins in this thread paralyze the prey.



Clownfish are one of the only species that can survive the deadly sting of the Sea Anemone. By making the anemone their home, clownfish become immune to its sting. These fish will gently touch every part of their bodies to the anemone’s tentacles until it no longer affects them.  A layer of mucus then forms on the clownfish’s body to prevent it from getting stung again.


Relationship: Mutualism

"A sea anemone makes an ideal home for a clownfish. Its poisonous tentacles provide protection from predators and a clownfish makes its meals from the anemone’s leftovers."

"A clownfish can help an anemone catch its prey by luring other fish toward over so that the anemone can catch them. Clownfish also eat any dead tentacles keeping the anemone and the area around it clean. "



CAC is a program of the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.