Once upon a time, in the depths of the ocean, there were hundreds of tiny fish eggs lying peacefully inside the protection of a sea anemone with a loving father who looked after them. Their father took great care fanning them and throwing away the damaged eggs.
Eight days later, an impatient little clownfish named Mone was the first larva to hatch among his brothers and sisters. Trying to follow his instincts, Mone swam up near the surface to eat plankton and to be swept by the ocean current into the wild unknown where he would have to face many dangers to find his new home.
Mone was very lucky to be one of the few to avoid the many dangers that could have happened. A day later, by eating lots of plankton, Mone was strong enough to metamorphose into a handsome bright-orange juvenile fish. Mone was then capable of swimming down into the scary ocean depths to try and find a safe new home with other clownfish.
The first anemone home that Mone tried to join was too crowded with other clownfish and there was no room left for him. Although he felt depressed that his first attempt at finding a cozy home was a failure, Mone was determined to find an anemone where he could make his home.
After wandering close to a cluster of beautiful, colourful anemones, he once again met the other clownfish occupying these homes. Lucky for Mone, it turned out that one of the family members had just died. Because the rest of the family was so sad and needed another fish to help do the chores, they decided to adopt Mone! Thus, Mone lived a happy and busy life with his new family as the smallest clownfish.
For months, Mone lived happily with his family and contributed by doing little chores around the anemone. Then, one afternoon, something horrific changed Mone’s life forever. When Mone’s uncle was out gathering food for the family, the most evil and horrifying creature of the seas, Shark Scar, ate him!!
After the death of his uncle, everyone in his family held a meeting. The meeting concerned the new election of the food gatherer and the necessary adoption of another family member. They needed another member in the family to help out around the house, just as Mone had done when he joined the family a few years ago as a juvenile clownfish. During the meeting, everyone chose Mone to be their new food gatherer since his aunt and uncles were already occupied with other vital chores. Mone was delighted to take on the role of the food gatherer and he said to himself, ‘I am going to be a good food gatherer for the rest of the family, and make my uncle proud.’
Because of the available space, the family adopted a new male clownfish - named Anem. His responsibility would be to assist Mone in gathering food.
A few years went by and the clownfish family was happy. All the elder clownfish had passed away and Mone was now the eldest clownfish. In the next family meeting, all the family members selected Mone to be the new leader of the family. This was a problem for Mone because he had never thought about being in charge of the family and was afraid to do so. Furthermore, another daunting idea was that in order for him to be the leader of the family, he had to be a female. It had always been a tradition in the world of clownfish that the biggest and strongest clownfish be the female leader. Mone decided that the responsibility of the family was now on his shoulders, and so he made the biggest decision of his life: to become a female.
Mone, now a female clownfish, was at the top of the hierarchy. Because she was responsible for caring for every aspect of her family’s life, she was a very busy clownfish.
Although everything seemed to be going well, there was one thing missing in her life. Mone needed a husband and children to ensure her family’s survival into the next generation. Anem, now the biggest and the strongest male clownfish in the family, seemed to be the only and best contestant for Mone's affections.
A few months later, Anem proposed to Mone. Delighted and surprised, Mone accepted the proposal.
In a few months, they had children! Mone had laid beautiful eggs and Anem took care of them. Their children hatched successfully, and Mone and Anem lived happily ever after in the anemone.
Information on the Internet
- Amphiprion ocellaris This site has a taxonomy chart of Amphiprion ocellaris. It also has a variety of photos of the clownfish as well as detailed information of many of its characteristics - such as its reproduction cycle, physical appearance, and habitat.
- No Nemo: Anemones, Not Parents Protect Clownfish This site talks about the hierachy within the clownfish living together in the same anemone. Furthermore, it has a general description of the clownfish's adaptation of immunity to the sting of the anemones' tentacles.
- Shedd Aquarium: Anemone Clownfish Anemone clownfish make their home inside the dangerous stinging tentacles of anemones. Newborn fish cover themselves with an anemone’s slimy mucus coating. This protects the clownfish against the anemone’s deadly sting, which paralyzes most other small fish.