Question

Some scientists think that the relationship between clownfish and sea anemones is an example of commensalism. Other scientist think that the relationship is mutualism. If this relationship is actually mutualism, how might both the clownfish and sea anemone benefit?

Solution

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Clownfishes have brightly colored bodies. They live in symbiosis with sea anemones in which both species benefit. Clownfishes lure fishes of other species in order to make them prey to the anemone, and the anemone returns the favor by providing protection and food among their poisonous ticks.

Clownfishes hide in the poisonous anemone, attracting predators, which then becomes prey for the anemone. Because of the mutual benefit, the relationship between the clownfishes and the anemone itself is mutualism.

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