Keep Your Friends Close, BUT! … Your Anemones CLOSER!
Sure, there were lots of reasons for Nemo to bust out of that Dentist office aquarium. In our version of the story, it was mostly because he couldn’t bear to live outside of his anemone.
Nemo is a clownfish, also known as anemonefish because these fish make their homes in anemones. Of over 1,000 anemone species worldwide, only 10 coexists with tropical clownfish. The fish and its anemone are in a symbiotic relationship – this means that the fish benefits from the anemone and vice versa.
Clownfish are the only fish capable of living in an anemone without getting stung by its tentacles. Like their relatives, jellies and corals, anemones have stinging cells on their tentacles. How do the clownfish escape being stung? They have a slimy mucus covering that protects them from the stinging tentacles. Scientists know this because they took clownfish, wiped off the covering, and found that the fish would get stung when they were returned to their home anemone.