Published: January 2010

Clownfish

Clownfish

Beautiful Friendship

Bound in an alliance of mutual benefit, clownfish and their host anemones are the crown jewels of coral reefs.

By James Prosek
Photograph by David Doubilet

When Andrew Stanton set out to make an animated children's movie set in the ocean and faithful to "the real rules of nature," all he needed was the perfect fish for his main character. Combing through coffee table books on sea life, his eye landed on a photo of two fish peeking out of an anemone. "It was so arresting," Stanton says. "I had no idea what kind of fish they were, but I couldn't take my eyes off them." The image of fish in their natural hiding place perfectly captured the oceanic mystery he wanted to convey. "And as an entertainer, the fact that they were called clownfish—it was perfect. There's almost nothing more appealing than these little fish that want to play peekaboo with you."

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