In honour of Stephen Fry’s brilliant QI (short for ‘Quite Interesting’) TV comedy quiz show returning to BBC this weekend, we feature a couple of Maldives QI questions of our own…
Question: What common, colourful fish in the Maldives is this a picture of?
Answer #1: A ‘Nemo’ Fish.?
[Sound effect]: Buzzzz! Wrong. The character ‘Nemo’ in Disney’s film ‘Finding Nemo’ had three white stripes as a opposed to the single one shown above.
Answer #2: A Clown Fish.
[Soundeffect]: Buzzzz! Wrong. You are close in that the term ‘clown fish’ is often applied to all members of the family of ‘Anemonefish’, but not all Anemonefish are really clown fish including this specimen.
Anemonefish are from the subfamily Amphiprioninae in the family Pomacentridae and only one specific species of Anemonefish, Amphiprion ocellaris, is actually designated the ‘Clown Anemonefish’. The fish shown at top is really a ‘Amphiprion nigripes’, also known as a ‘Maldive anemonefish’. With its cousin ‘Amphiprion clarkii’ (also known as ‘Clark’s anemonefish’ or the ‘Yellowtail clownfish’), they are the two species of Anemonefish (out of 27 that exist worldwide) found in the Maldive waters.
As it happens, a number of Anemonfish have also been dubbed ‘Clownfish’ in their informal names such as Amphiprion perideraion (Pink skunk clownfish) and the Amphiprion melanopus (Fire or Cinnamon clownfish) as well as obviously ‘Clark’s which I said is known as the ‘Yellowtail Clownfish’. But not this species here. Even Wikipedia describes the terms ‘Clownfish’ and ‘Anemonefish’ as interchangeable, but now you know the real distinctions.
Thanks to Sarah Kompatscher, Marine Biologist at Anantara, and Verena Wiesbauer Ali, Marine Biologist for Kurumba.
Proper ‘Nemo’ or ‘Clown Anemonefish’
Now that I have your attention! (you know, sometimes titles just write themselves…though ‘Polypamory’ was a really close runner-up).
The Maldives is renowned for newly betrothed couples consummating their nuptials with a honeymoon celebration. But the very microscopic creatures who built the Maldives over millennia, coral polyps, will be celebrating a honeymoon of their own this week in rather distinctive style. Their rather exotic ‘bedroom’ habits certainly put the ‘moon’ in the ‘honeymoon’. That is according to this month’s Scientific American featuring a piece about Coral Polyp reproduction…
“It is hard to court the opposite sex when you are cemented in place, which explains why polyps—the tiny creatures whose exoskeletons form corals—do not reproduce by mating. Instead they cast millions of sperm and eggs into the sea, where they drift up to the ocean surface, collide, form larvae and float away to form new coral reefs. Polyps may not be picky about their “mates,” but they are sticklers for timing. The polyps in a coral reef will “blow” their eggs and sperm simultaneously in quick frenzies for just one, or maybe a few, consecutive nights a year—and they usually do so shortly after sunset on evenings closely following a full moon…A reef generally picks one day during a full moon in summer to blow, for 20 minutes or so, during the twilight hours.”
I guess if we were going to grant a ‘Best of’ accolade for ‘Reef Romance’ it would have to go to none other than the to Sheraton’s eponymous ‘Full Moon’ resort.
As it happens, this June’s Full Moon offers a special treat as well of an ‘extra long Lunar Eclipse. MSNBC reports “This month’s full moon will pass almost directly through the center of Earth’s shadow on Wednesday in what will be an unusually long total eclipse of the moon, 100 minutes. The next total lunar eclipse of exceptional length will be July 27, 2018, and will last 106 minutes.”
The Full Moon this week rises at 8:14 pm on Wednesday 15th June. It promises to be quite the eventful evening from sea to sky.