Just think of it: The most dangerous predator in the whole ocean, the scourge of coral reefs, the king of the open ocean, feared by all and loved by none. It's the infamous ... clownfish?
Wait, wait, wait. Let's back up here for a second. You did hear us right. We did say clownfish. But even though these funny-looking (and critically acclaimed) little fellows may not look like they could hurt a fly, let us assure you they very well could.
That is, as long as the fly had sunk underwater deep enough in the right location to pass by a clownfish, and as long as it still remained alive so the clownfish could hurt it in some way, because eating a dead fly is still interesting but not quite as commendable as killing a deeply weakened fly that flew into the wrong ocean at the wrong time.
Popular Science reports that a scientist named Suzanne Mills has recorded footage of a clownfish biting the tail of a shark — and the shark flinching.
FLINCHING. It sounds crazy, right? Just look at the gif below.
One moment, there's just a hapless little clownfish swimming around its reef and many anemones (say that five times fast) when all of a sudden a blacktip reef shark winds his way over the clownfish's reef. Enraged and protective, the clownfish darts after the shark and gives him a sharp and quick bite to his tail.
Now, you'd think a clownfish wouldn't have teeth sharp enough to hurt a shark, let alone irritate it. But the shark swims off with a quick shake of his tail, clearly wincing from the severity of the bite.
So could a clownfish take down a shark in a battle between bony and cartilaginous fish? Well, nope, probably not. But could a clownfish give a shark enough hell to drive him off the little guy's reef?
That's a safe bet — and we all know clownfish can be overprotective.
Watch the full video of the clownfish attack below.