by TFH Magazine on November 8, 2012 at 6:50 am
By Trevor Stokes, LiveScience Contributor
Clownfish, the orange-, black- and white-striped fish made famous in the movie “Finding Nemo,” are a gossipy bunch, popping and clicking amid their anemone homes to defend and reinforce their social status, according to new research.
Unlike the 360 other species of territorial marine fish in the Pomacentridae family, clownfish don’t make a peep when mating. Researchers wondering why clownfish would bother to make noise in other circumstances discovered that their chatter helps maintain the rank and file among group members.
“Sound could be an interesting strategy for preventing conflict between group members,” lead study author Orphal Colleye, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Liège, Belgium, told LiveScience. “In terms of cost energy, you don’t have to interact with another individual to determine which is the dominant and which is the subordinate, you just need to make a sound.”
Photograph by Orphal Colleye.