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Habitat

 

     Amphiprion ocellaris are found in the Indo-West Pacific area.  This area includes the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, South East Asia, northern Australia and Western Pacific regions.  Normally, the clownfish is found in shallow water reefs or sand ranging in depths from 1 to 18 meters.  They survive best at temperatures ranging from 24C to 32C and a pH higher than 6.34.  This makes the region around southeastern Asia and northwestern Australia an optimal location to live for the clownfish.  A. ocellaris are always found living among the sea anemones Hereractis magnifica and Stichodactyla gigantean.  These sea anemones are large, strongly stinging anemones that provide protection and food for the clownfish.  In return, the clownfish clean the anemone and protect it from predators.  Since both species benefit from this association, their relationship can be considered a mutualistic relationship.  For more information, see Interactions.
 

Region where Amphiprion ocellaris can be found in nature.
World map with Amphiprion ocellaris region outlined.
CIA - The World Factbook -- Political Map of the World

 

     A. ocellaris rarely migrate between hosts, thus their distribution is limited by the availability of finding a host anemone to live in.  Even if an anemone host is found, survival is still uncertain due to competition within the anemone.  Often times, the searching clownfish is chased away or killed by residing residents within the host.  Thus, a clownfish chooses its host based on the availability of space within the anemone, the accessibility of food, the risk of predation and the presence of a nesting site.  It is rare to see an unoccupied anemone
 

Clownfish swimming near
host Heractis magnifica

Clownfish swimming near host Heractis magnifica
Picture taken by Elizabeth Guck


A saltwater aquarium in Virginia Beach.
A saltwater aquarium in Virginia Beach that shows the clownfish swimming among many other types of saltwater fish.
Picture taken by Betsy Berends
 

In addition to living in a mutualistic relationship with a host anemone, Amphiprion ocellaris live in harmony with Periclimenes holthuisi (Anemone Shrimp) that also inhabit some anemones.  Amphiprion ocellaris are rarely found in nature with other species, however.  This seclusion changes in aquariums, however, where they can live with any other saltwater fish, such as those pictured to the left.  (See also Interactions).

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