Children may be disappointed and concerned to find their orange and white clownfish star of the hit cartoon movie ‘Finding Nemo’ lost being swept into the sea.
But, a new finding in real life is enough to cheer them up, as researchers have found that the baby clownfish – in real life – can find its own way home, even after spending months at sea! This characteristic of the star ‘Nemo’ was observed by an Australian-led team of international researchers.
To make this observation, the fish were tagged by a tagging method considered to be the world’s first. In it, the adult clownfish and butterfly fish were injected with a ‘barium isotope’ which is harmless. They eventually pass the isotope on to their offspring, with which their juveniles are identified.
The little fish actually act quite sophisticatedly when out in the open water. If swept into the sea, far from its original home, a baby clownfish can use its whole suite of senses – they can not just swim well, but also smell, see and hear well.
According to the researchers, 60 percent of baby clownfish can find their way back to their home reef, which is only 300 meters (1,000 feet) wide even after being swept into the open ocean at birth!
The scientists discovered this amazing capability of the little fish studying a tiny coral reef in Papua New Guinea.