Diving: Clownfish and Anemones

The clownfish/anemone symbiosis is one of my favorite behaviors to observe. If left alone on a dive, I might spend most of my bottom time sitting at an anemone, watching the little fishes dart in and out of their host. One pet-peeve of mine is that most people -- even our dive guides -- pronounce "anemone" as if it were spelled "anenome." A-ne-MO-NE. That's an "M" before the "N", at the end. :)

There was a great variety of carpet, long-tentacle and bubble-tip anemones, each hosting some combination of spine-cheek anemonefish, Clark's anemonefish, skunk clowns, false percula clowns, hordes of domino damsels, little shrimps, and porcelain crabs. Some of the bubble-tip anemones were outrageous in color, with brown tentacles and bright white and green bubble tips. Near the end of one dive, I spotted a false percula (Amphiprion ocellaris) repeatedly swimming to one area of the anemone (and wiggling around). I took a closer look and spotted a clutch of eggs! Unlike the big salmon eggs portrayed as clownfish eggs in the movie, "Finding Nemo," these eggs were clear, and showed red/brown coloration only in the body of the fishling inside. They looked almost ready to hatch, and I wish I could have stayed there to see them float off.

If one more person exclaims (in a high-pitched voice), "NEMO!" when they see a clownfish photo I've taken, I'm going to smack them. OK, I'm just kidding. I actually like that the movie has made so many fans of the clownfish. :)