The law of evolution can lead to very funny survival methods. That’s what a clownfish would tell you. Although the female clownfish will lay thousands of eggs, only a few will make it into adulthood. One way to ensure the survival of the species is to keep breeding. That is, if you can find a mate.
Clownfish surprising breeding habits
Anemonefish, as their name would suggest, live in an anemone. They do not tend to travel the world looking for their son. And because they seldom leave their cozy anemone, their choice of breeding partners is consequently limited. To ensure the survival of their species, all clownfish are born hermaphrodite, which means that they carry both female and male reproductive organs.
The largest and strongest of the clownfish will turn into the breeding female. The second largest anemonefish will then turn into a male. The rest will remain undifferentiated non-mating fish. If the alpha female were to die, the breeding male will turn into the breeding female. The largest of the non-mating team will then become the breeding male.
Their ability to change gender means clownfish do not need to stray away from their habitat into unsafe waters to find a mate.
Clownfish are not the only who found a way to cheat Mother Nature. One other example is the blue-streaked cleaner wrasse. This species tend to form groups of one male and several females. If the dominant male dies, one of the female wrasse turns into a male wrasse.
Finding Nemo got it all wrong
If it had happened in real life, Finding Nemo would have had quite a different story line. Marlin would not have left its safe anemone to explore the world. It would have turned into Marlina. Nemo is an undifferentiated clownfish, which could explain its high-pitched voice. Depending on its surroundings, Nemo can become the breeding male or the breeding female.