Gaya clownfish project

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Anemonefish found in the Indo-Pacific live the entirety of their settled lives in symbiosis with anemones, plants which provide both a defensive shelter and nursery for young. Although the aggressive defense of anemones from intruders has been noted among certain species of anemonefish, a full knowledge of the defensive traits and causes has yet to be established. A two day study was taken in three coral reef locations in Sabah, Malaysia (Padang Point Reef, Sepi Island Coral Garden and Sepi Island Jetty) in order to determine if community size influences the tendency of Premnas biaculeatus and Amphiprion ocellaris to aggressively defend their territory from intruders. Our hypothesis was that anemonefish living in larger groups would be likely to defend their territory, with the rationale that a greater number of fish would provide a greater supporting structure for aggressive behavior. GLM analysis of 36 P. biaculeatus, 30 A. ocellaris, and host anemone found that group size was not statistically significant. Similarly, analysis of the relations between tentacle size and length, presence of juveniles (defined as small fish), and aggression revealed no significant results. However, P. biaculeatus was found to be more aggressive than A. ocellaris by a Chi-squared test (0.003), which points to a species specific reaction in defense of host anemone. Therefore, we conclude that P. biaculeatus is a more aggressive species than A. ocellaris, but that a specimen’s tendency to aggressively defend its territory is not based on a support system, the size of the anemone, the tentacle length of the anenome, or the presence of juveniles; our data suggests that it is a species-specific tendency. By no means is this study comprehensive; various other factors merit longer and more intensive study. Further studies should include a larger sample and species of anemone.