What Kind of Fish Is Dory From Finding Nemo?


In the vast and vibrant world of marine life, countless species captivate our imagination. One such fascinating creature is Dory, the lovable blue tang fish that won the hearts of millions in the animated film “Finding Nemo.” But what exactly is Dory? In this article, we will dive into the depths of the ocean to discover the true identity of this enchanting fish.

History of Dory Fish from Finding Nemo

While Dory’s name might suggest a different fish entirely, she’s actually a regal tang! These vibrant blue fish share Dory’s sunny disposition and love for warm ocean waters. In Finding Nemo, we learn Dory has short-term memory loss, but the film doesn’t delve into her past. However, the sequel, Finding Dory, reveals she was separated from her parents as a young, yellow tang (a baby regal tang) and eventually forgot them due to her condition. Through flashbacks and perseverance, Dory ultimately reunites with her family, showcasing the power of determination despite facing challenges.

What kind of fish is Dory?

Scientifically speaking, Dory—the small blue fish from the “Finding Nemo” movie franchise with a bad memory—is a blue tang, or Paracanthurus hepatus. Dory’s name might be a bit misleading. In fact, my research revealed there are many fish called ‘dory,’ but Dory’s vibrant blue color and playful spirit point to a different species altogether. She’s a regal tang, also known as a royal blue tang or a hippo tang. These dazzling fish boast an electric blue color, just like our favorite forgetful friend. They have a round, flat body and a cheerful yellow tail, making them stand out beautifully on a coral reef.

From Sunshine Yellow to Electric Blue

Baby regal tangs don’t always match Dory’s signature blue. Believe it or not, they start out mostly yellow!  As they grow older, their scales gradually change into that eye-catching blue. So, the next time you see a bright yellow fish darting around a coral reef, it might just be a baby regal tang on its way to becoming a magnificent blue like Dory!

Fun facts about Dory from Finding Nemo

  1. Finding Her Voice:Dory was the first-ever role written specifically for actress Ellen DeGeneres! Her infectious humor and sunny personality perfectly captured the essence of Dory.
  2. Short-Term Memory Woes:Dory’s signature struggle with short-term memory loss is both endearing and a source of humor. This isn’t entirely unrealistic, as some fish are thought to have limited memory spans.
  3. “Just Keep Swimming!”This iconic mantra became a beacon of hope and perseverance, not just for Nemo but for audiences worldwide. It’s a simple yet powerful reminder to never give up.
  4. Whale Whisperer:Did you know Dory has a surprising talent for speaking whale? This unexpected skill proves valuable in her journey and adds a layer of depth to her character.
  5. From Yellow to Blue:Baby regal tangs, Dory’s real-life counterpart, are actually mostly yellow! As they grow older, their scales gradually transform into that eye-catching blue.
  6. Ocean Explorer:Just like Dory’s adventurous spirit, regal tangs are natural explorers. They love to swim through coral reefs, munching on algae and tiny plants.
  7. Hidden Defense:Regal tangs, like Dory, are more than just pretty faces. Their tail fin has a sharp spine they can use to defend themselves against predators.
  8. Finding Nemo Sequel:Dory’s popularity was so immense, that she landed her own movie, Finding Dory! This film explores her past and her search for her family.
  9. Animation Inspiration:Animators meticulously studied the movements and behavior of real regal tangs to bring Dory to life on screen. This dedication to detail is a big part of why she feels so real.
  10. A Role Model?Despite her memory challenges, Dory’s optimism, determination, and loyalty make her a role model for viewers of all ages. She teaches us that anyone can overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams.

Where Would Finding Nemo’s Dory Live?

According to National Geographic, blue tangs inhabit areas close to coral reefs because algae are abundant there, which serves as their primary food source. As algae growth has been connected to a decline in reef health and has the potential to disrupt the food chain, it is also beneficial to the coral reefs.

You should go to a coral reef in the Pacific or Indian Ocean if you want to see a blue tang in the wild. The fish have been reported to live close to Australia, India, Thailand, Japan, Guam, American Samoa, Kenya, South Africa, and numerous other regions, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Do ‘Dory Fish’ Make Good Pets?

Disney’s live-action “101 Dalmatians” (1996) sparked a Dalmatian buying frenzy. Animal shelters soon overflowed with abandoned dogs, as families underestimated the breed’s specific needs. While a 2022 study didn’t show a surge in blue tang purchases after “Finding Dory,” the movie ignited discussions about the ethics of owning them. Breeding blue tangs in captivity has proven difficult, forcing capture through cyanide use. This poisonous practice harms the environment, reefs, and other marine life. Estimates suggest half of everything exposed to the cyanide dies.


While Dory may be a fictional character, her portrayal as a blue tang fish in the movies has brought attention to the captivating world of marine life. The blue tang, with its vibrant colors and distinctive features, continues to inspire awe and curiosity. By understanding the true nature of the blue tang, we can further appreciate the beauty and diversity found beneath the ocean’s surface. So, let us embark on our own underwater adventure and marvel at the wonders that lie beneath the waves.


Q: What kind of fish is Dory?

A: Dory might be called a dory, but she’s actually a regal tang, also known as a royal blue tang or a hippo tang. These fish share Dory’s bright blue color, cheerful yellow tail, and love for swimming in coral reefs.

Q: Why can’t Dory remember things?

A: Dory suffers from short-term memory loss. This is a fun detail in the movie, but it might also reflect the limited memory spans some fish are thought to have.

Q: Is Dory’s “whale speak” real?

A: While whales communicate with complex sounds, Dory’s ability to understand them is entirely fictional. However, it adds a unique quirk to her character and helps her on her adventure.

Q: What’s Dory’s famous motto?

A: Dory’s iconic line is “Just keep swimming!” This simple phrase became a powerful message of hope and perseverance, encouraging viewers to never give up on their dreams.

Q: Did Dory get her own movie?

A: Absolutely! Due to her immense popularity, Dory landed her own movie called Finding Dory. This film explored her past and her heartwarming journey to find her family.

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