• Question: Why are all clownfish born female?

    Asked by gundersaur to Jemma, John, Katie, Lisa on 21 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: Katie Skeffington

      Katie Skeffington answered on 21 Jun 2012:

      That’s a good question! Clownfish are born female, and then later switch to become males! This is called sequential hermaphroditism. Some people have come up with ideas as to why they might do this. One idea is that small males are more successful at reproducing than large males, whereas large females are more successful at reproducing than small females. If this is the case, it makes sense that the greatest reproductive success will occur if, as the animals grow, they change sex from male to female. That way they are always the optimal sex for their size!
      Hope that helps!