Anemones – More Than Nemo’s Home

Have you ever encountered an anemone underwater? You know, the tentacle filled home of everyones’ favourite fish Nemo. Although clown fish get most of the attention, anemones are pretty darn interesting too! In this article, we look a little deeper into this fascinating marine animal.

Pink Bubble Anemones
Fluorescent Pink Bubble Tip Anemone

Anemones – In All Oceans

There are more than 1000 species of anemone in the world but only 10 are known to host clown fish. They inhabit oceans world wide, from the polar seas to the tropics. What few people understand though is that they are animals and not plants. In fact, they are not just animals but predatory ones at that! Anemones eat a variety of prey such as plankton, crustaceans, and even small fish. Closely related to jellyfish, they boast stinging cells in their tentacles that help to subdue their prey and act as defense. If you look carefully at an anemone, it’s easy to spot the mouth in the middle of the disc. This is where it devours its prey, normally with the tentacles pushing the food like arms would.

Magnificent Anemones
Magnificent Anemone

We spot a variety of them throughout Indonesia, both when snorkeling and diving. However, none of them capture the imagination quite like anemones with clown fish. The vast majority of anemones that host anemone fish are present in Indonesia. They range in size from barely larger than the fish itself to over a meter in diameter. They also come in a wide variety of shapes and colors.

Anemones in Indonesia

There are 13 different anemone fish in the waters of Indonesia and each has a preferred home anemone. Clarke’s and Saddleback anemone fish tend to favor either Carpet anemones or Leather anemones. The Spine Cheek anemone fish pretty much is only ever found in Bubble Tip anemones. The Skunk clown is found mainly in Carpet anemones as well. Whereas the Pink is found in both Carpet and Magnificent anemones. The real “Nemo” on the other hand is found almost exclusively in the Magnificent anemones.

Carpet Anemone
Carpet Anemone and Saddleback Clownfish with Eggs

The Magnificent is the largest anemone and also the most brightly colored. The mantle of this anemone comes in a variety of colors such as white, green, red, pink, and even purple. The Bubble Tip can also be found in a variety of beautiful colors including a neon pink. The Leather and Carpet anemones on the other hand tend to always be a rather drab brown colour.

More Than Just Clownfish

Clown fish are not the only creatures that live within the fold of an anemone. A keen eye can also spot a host of smaller animals living within the protective embrace of the tentacles including shrimp and crabs. These fragile creatures clean particulate out off of their host and receive a form of protection by hiding within the stinging tentacles.

Porcelain Crab
Porcelain Crab on Anemone

We are happy to say that we encounter anemones on almost every ocean excursion. Our guests join us snorkeling and diving throughout Indonesia. In locations such as Komodo, Raja Ampat, and the Banda Sea we encounter them all the time. Everyone enjoys taking a few minutes to watch the antics of the clown fish. An adventure to enjoy is taking notes on how many different species of clown fish and their hosts that you encounter. Let our team know about your interest in these amazing animals and we will show you an incredible variety on every excursion.

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