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Old 03-20-2006, 12:46 AM   #1
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FoxFace behavior

I was sitting and watching tv tonight and happened to peer over at my tank and noticed the foxface "petting" the colt coral. The coral hasnt retracted or visibly shown signs of distress, but Im sure corals do not like being "hosted". I see no visible signs of illness of the foxface and water parameteres are normal. Any idea what this may be?

Is he just trying to make friends? Or should I be worried?
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Old 03-20-2006, 06:35 AM   #2
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What is it that you are describing as 'petting'? Did the fish just happen to be idling where the coral was at or was he really getting involved? Wouldn't worry either way unless you see him doing this behavior elsewhere...like scratching.

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but Im sure corals do not like being "hosted"
To the contrary, corals are hosted all the time by numberous types of fish and inverts. They benefit from the tidbits of food from those that do host them and in turn, the corals add protection for the fish and inverts. This symbiotic relationship far extends from the boundries of the well known clownfish and anemones. Even clownfish have hosted corals instead of anemones. I even saw a clownfish host a fake plant...it was funny to watch her try to shove food into what she thought was a mouth...LOL. On the flip side, other fish besides clownfish have been seen hosting anemones. I've personally have never seen a foxface take to coral in such a way, but it was also quite bizarre when divers saw hawkfish and gobies hosting anemones. The behaviors of clownfish are now thought to be studied by other fish in the reef and then apply the technique themselves.
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:31 AM   #3
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wow I wasnt aware of this type of behavior from other fish. By petting, I meant the foxface gently rubs the coral in a "petting" motion. I've kept a close eye on him to see if he was rubbing against other things to ward away from parasite, but its only with the coral. He does follow my O. clown around all the time and perhaps notices my clown with its hosted anemone and well... "monkey see, monkey do". Thank you very much for the help
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Old 03-20-2006, 01:52 PM   #4
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You're quite welcome Nothing is short of possible in nature. These animals are highly evolved and no reason to think they can't learn from example. They've been around a hell of a lot longer than we have and are millions of years ahead of us in evolution.

BTW...the notorious wriggling clownfish do through the anemones and corals is the very behavior that makes them able to live among them. The clown masks it's own scent with that of the anemone, so the anemone doesn't even recognize the fish. It also helps create an extra layer of protective slime on the fish's body to help keep stingers in the anemone's tentacles from penetrating the fish if they do activate.
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