Dory: Not so Ditzy in Real Life

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Blue tang (Paracanthurus hepatus) at Monterey Bay Aquarium by Wikimedia contributor Tewy.

We’ve all seen the humorously scatterbrained black-and-blue fish Dory in Pixar’s Finding Nemo, but only those who have spent some time snorkeling or diving in tropical waters have seen the real-life surgeonfish–as that class of fish is called–just keep swimming in its natural habitat. Next year, Finding Dory will act as a sequel to the immensely popular aquatic animation film from 2003. Before you watch it in cinemas, you can learn a little about the actual fish that Dory is based on, via BBC Earth:

“I suffer from short-term memory loss,” Dory tells Nemo. “I forget things almost instantly, it runs in my family.”

It’s very funny and ultimately touching, but this depiction is just a little unfair. The fish Dory is based on does not have short-term memory loss. It is rather more awesome than that.

It has several names, including royal blue tang, regal tang and surgeonfish. Its scientific name is Paracanthurus hepatus.

Royal blue tangs have an important role to play in our oceans. They are part of a family of fish called surgeonfish, which are known to feed on the algae that grows on coral reefs.

This means that they keep corals healthy. By eating the algae, they prevent it from growing out of control and choking the coral to death. So in a way, Dory really does save the day.

Read the full article here.

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