As mentioned in the habitat section, Amphiprion percula form a strong mutual relationship with various species of anemones. The primary anemone species these clownfish are found to be in interaction with are Heteractis magnifica, Stichodactyla gigantean, and Stichodactyla mertensii (Lee 2003).  Many people often only think about the fish living in the anemone, but in fact it plays a major role in every step of the clownfish’s life cycle.  From the earliest stages of life, the clownfish involves the anemone (Yasir 2007). 

Aiding in Reproduction

Often times a clownfish will lay their eggs underneath an anemone.  It is theorized that this is done because the anemone provides the eggs with protection from possible predators (Boyer). When the eggs are first released they are sticky and will harden to a surface 5-10 minutes after being released into the water (Yasir 2007).  Once the eggs hatch into young baby clownfish they must search for an anemone as a possible host.  In one anemone there are never multiple species found residing.  This is due to the different toxins and chemical cues used by the fish to locate a host anemone (Mitchell 2012).

How does the fish acclimate to an anemone?

A clownfish cannot just simply dive into any anemone that it chooses.  It must first find an anemone that is not occupied, or find one where the current organisms are welcoming of a new individual because most anemonefish are very defensive when it comes to “their” anemone (Curtis 2003).  In order to acclimate to an anemone the fish goes through a series of small stings by the tentacles of the anemone.  Each time, the duration of the sting increases.  During these sting sequences, the fish gains a mucous layer protecting it from the stings.  The fish also doesn't' get eaten because  "it is believed the anemone fails to recognize the fish as a food source because of this chemical composition so it does not fire its nematocysts" (Curtis 2013). In isn’t clear exactly how the mucous layer is obtained, but there are two accepted hypothesis, both which are believed to be important. One idea is that the fish produces the mucous layer on their own from within.  The other accepted idea is that acquired from the anemone’s tentacles after multiple stings (Curtis 2013). This acclimation process may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.