There are over three-trillion fish in the ocean and aquariums around the world. A few of these fish have become legendary on the big screen and are now household names. How much do we really know about these entertaining fish?
Dory, a spunky, optimistic regal tang, made her debut in "Finding Nemo" in 2003. Andrew Stanton wrote and directed this Pixar film. Comedian Ellen DeGeneres is Dory's voice.
Though Dory appears to be quite harmless, the actual regal tang sports a thorn on its tail. This thorn is as sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, thus giving the fish the nickname "surgeonfish." Regal tangs live in tropical waters and like to eat live food and green vegetation. An adult regal tang can grow up to ten inches long.
The star of the blockbuster hit "Finding Nemo," Nemo, is a curious clownfish. Alexander Gould, a veteran actor, plays the voice of Nemo.
The real clownfish or anemonefish live in the warm waters of the Pacific. They get the name anemonefish because they live in sea anemone. For reasons that still baffle scientists, the anemones don't sting clownfish but instead provide refuge from predators. Clownfish don't have the greatest swimming capabilities and their bright colors make them an easy target. A clownfish will spend its entire life within six to 12 inches of the host anemones-the movie isn't too far fetched. Clownfish primarily eat copepods and mysids and can grow up to five-inches long.
"Flipper," a well-known sitcom in the 60s, featured a bottle-nosed dolphin as the star. Mitzi, a young, female dolphin, played this part-though a male stunt dolphin doubled in to do the tail-walks (Mitzi could never master that trick).
Bottle-nosed dolphins live in warm coastal waters. They are known for their playful intelligence and friendly attitude toward humans. Dolphins are mammals, not fish, so they need to frequently surface for air. Their diet consists mainly of fish and squid, and they grow up to 12 feet in length and weigh up to 1,400 pounds. Dolphins have a maximum lifespan of about 25 years; Mitzi past away in 1972 at age 24.
Keico, originally from Iceland, starred as Willy in all three "Free Willy" movies. This 35-foot, six-ton orca whale lived in various aquariums including the Mexico City Aquarium and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Towards the end of his life, Keico was rehabilitated to live in the wild and taken home to Iceland, though he remained in close contact with humans until he died in December of 2003.
Orcas, also called killer whales, are mammals and thus need to surface for air occasionally. They live in waters all over the world but seem to enjoy the colder oceans. The orca has a very diverse diet consisting of squid, fish, seals and even sharks and other whales. Contrary to popular belief, an orca has never been known to harm a human. Orcas grow up to 33 feet in length and weigh between 8,000 to 12,000 pounds-despite their size, they can swim over 30 mph.
Sebastian from "The Little Mermaid," voiced by Samuel E. Wright, made his debut on the big screen in 1989. Sebastian isn't a fish at all-he's a lobster from the crustacean family. This little critter helped "The Little Mermaid" gross almost 111 million dollars.
Lobsters are invertebrates with a tough outer shell called an exoskeleton. They live on rocky, muddy or sandy bottoms and are often found in crevices or burrowed under rocks. They scavenge sea bottoms feeding mostly on mollusks and decaying animal matter, but will also catch live fish, dig for clams and eat algae. The largest lobster on record weighed over 44 pounds. Lobsters are very different from fish and mammals in that they have eight legs-two of which develop into claws-and have clear blood.
Fish are here to stay. Aquariums are growing in popularity each year and we're sure to see more superstars evolve from the depths of the sea.
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