Take a look at the website for this wondrous public aquarium for their "Adopt an animal" program and highlights of their delightful exhibits. One of the aquarium animals you may choose to adopt is the cute and intriquing clownfish, or Nemo, as we all know and love him!
Just like in the movie "Finding Nemo", clownfish really do live in a sea anemone for a home! But, listen to this: these small, brightly colored fish who belong to a group called damselfish and who live in reefs, have an interesting and potentially deadly relationship with the sea anemone!
Clownfish develop an immunity to the anemone's sting. When the clownfish is stung by a sea anemone the first time, the clownfish secretes a slimy mucus which covers its body and protects it from further contact with the poison from the anemone's tenticles. The clownfish is then protected from the sting of the sea anemone where he lives, but could still be stung and killed by another sea anemone.
Thus, the clownfish has a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the sea anemone because, while the clownfish calls the sea anemone home, the sea anemone also benefits: The clownfish swims out into the reef to attract larger fish and when the larger fish follow the clownfish back to the sea anemone; the sea anemone stings the larger fish and eats it for dinner!
The clownfish and the sea anemone cooperate with one another and this way, the clownfish also gets a meal by eating the remains of the larger fish, after the sea anemone is done. In addition to that,the clownfish eats away debris and does the sea anemone the favor of removing its dead tentacles. The clownfish enjoys eating planktonic crustaceans and algae on the reef, too.
Besides helping each other have enough to eat, the Clownfish also helps out his host sea anemone by chasing away fish who are harmful to the sea anemone like the butterfly fish. (The butterfly fish likes to bite off the ends of the sea anemone's live tentacles.) To thank the clownfish for protecting him, the sea anemone, in return, keeps the clownfish safe by eating predators of the clownfish.
As loveable as Nemo is, would you have ever imagined that he was that clever? Clownfish are amazing! They are one of the incredible animals who you can become an adoptive parent to at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nemo is in need of our help to keep him safe from the horrible disaster we all watched on t.v. called Hurricane Katrina.
Take a look at the aquarium's colorful and informative website and click on "Adopt an Animal" for more information. It's a great website and worth a visit! (Of course, please visit the actual aquarium as soon as possible! They will welcome you with open arms and all the warm hospitality that New Orleans is famous for!!!)
While you're at their wonderful website, you may want to click on their Audubon eStore and purchase the soundtrack from the IMAX film "Hurricane on the Bayou" (New Orleans style jazz from Grammy-award winning musicians). This film is showing at their IMAX theatre! Also available are cool caps and great t-shirts from "Hurricane on the Bayou", among other fabulous aquarium gift shop items. Enjoy and thanks for caring and helping out our neighbors - human and aquatic, alike! Kindness to animals helps build a better world for all of us! : )