Kelvin K P Lim and Jeffrey K Y Low
Other fishes would risk being stung to death and be devoured if they attempted to nestle into an anemone the way the anemonefish does. In the aquarium, anemonefishes thrive without anemones, but in the wild, they require the anemones to protect them from predators.
On the seafloor, one often comes across openings of burrows dug by snapping shrimps (family Alpheidae). Many of these burrows are also inhabited by gobies (Cryptocentrus and Amblyeleotris spp.). These fishes seem to act as lookouts while the shrimps are busy maintaining the burrow. When a threatening situation arises, the goby backs into the burrow, The action of the goby is transmitted to the shrimp which usually maintains physical contact with its via its feelers.
The shark sucker (Echeneis naucrates) has an oval-shaped disc with rows of lamellae on its head. This device enables the fish to cling to the surfaces of large open-water creatures like sharks, manta rays, turtles, and even boats. This probably affords more security than having to swim alone in the open.
Also hitchhiking for protection but unattached to their hosts, juvenile golden trevallies (Gnathanodon speciosus) for some reason, often travel unharmed alongside large fishes.
Coastal Marine Habitats
Fishes and Man
About the guidebook
From A Guide to Common Marine Fishes of Singapore by Kelvin K P Lim and Jeffrey K Y Low
Published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by BP
©Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research and Singapore Science Centre