From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Clownfish
Mains level : Climate change and its impact
The clownfish, made so popular by the animated film Finding Nemo and its sequel Finding Dory, cannot be expected to be able to adapt to a rapidly changing environment, a new study has concluded.
- Clownfish are found in various parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including the Great Barrier Reef.
- They typically live at the bottom of shallow seas in sheltered reefs or in shallow lagoons. It is this habitat that is under threat.
Habitat under threat
- Clownfish breed only in sea anemones, sharing a symbiotic bond.
- Clownfish shelter in the anemone and are the only fish that do not get stung by the nematocysts of the anemone.
- The anemone benefits because clownfish can defend the anemone from fish that might eat it. They never live anywhere but in the anemone.
- Like coral reefs in general, Anemones are under direct threat from the impacts of climate change.
- The anemones share another symbiotic bond, with algae. Under stress in warming waters, the algae leave the anemones.
- If the algae stay away too long, the anemone starve to death. Which leaves the clownfish without a home.