What Kind of Fish is Dory

Dory is a beloved character from the animated movie “Finding Nemo,” known for her short-term memory loss and her endearing personality. But have you ever wondered what kind of fish Dory is? In this article, we’ll dive into the world of marine biology to uncover the real identity of Dory and learn more about this fascinating fish.

The Regal Blue Tang (Paracanthurus hepatus)

Dory’s true identity is that of a Regal Blue Tang, scientifically known as Paracanthurus hepatus. This vibrant and beautiful fish is commonly found in the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific region, including the Great Barrier Reef. Its striking blue coloration and distinctive black “palette” pattern near its tail make it easily recognizable.

Appearance and Features

The Regal Blue Tang boasts a sleek, oval-shaped body that’s flattened from side to side. Its vibrant blue color, coupled with its contrasting black markings, make it one of the most visually appealing fish in the ocean. Here are some key features of the Regal Blue Tang:

Size and Shape

The average size of a Regal Blue Tang ranges from 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) in length. Its body is laterally compressed, allowing it to effortlessly maneuver through coral reefs and rocky crevices.

Vivid Blue Coloration

The fish’s bright blue coloration serves as a form of protection in its natural habitat. This hue helps it blend in with the surrounding coral, making it challenging for predators to spot.

Palette-Like Markings

The black “palette” markings near its tail resemble an artist’s palette, which adds to its charm. These markings are thought to serve a purpose in communication or camouflage.

Habitat and Range

Regal Blue Tangs are primarily found in coral reef ecosystems. They thrive in the warm waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Some of the specific regions where you can encounter these fish include:

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Australia, is one of the most famous places to spot Regal Blue Tangs. Their stunning blue coloration is a delightful sight for divers and snorkelers exploring this natural wonder.

Other Coral Reefs

Regal Blue Tangs are not limited to the Great Barrier Reef. They can also be found in various other coral reef systems across the Indo-Pacific region, such as those around Fiji, Indonesia, and the Maldives.

Behavior and Diet

Understanding the behavior and diet of the Regal Blue Tang can provide valuable insights into Dory’s character in “Finding Nemo.” These fish are known for their interesting behaviors and dietary preferences:

Social Creatures

Regal Blue Tangs are social animals and often gather in small groups. These gatherings serve both social and protective purposes.

Herbivorous Feeding

Their diet primarily consists of algae, which they graze on using their small, sharp teeth. This herbivorous feeding behavior is essential for maintaining the health of coral reefs, as they help control algae growth.

Conservation Status

Regal Blue Tangs are not currently listed as endangered or threatened. However, like many coral reef inhabitants, they face challenges due to habitat destruction, overfishing, and the impacts of climate change. Conservation efforts are crucial to preserving their natural habitat and populations.


In conclusion, Dory, the lovable character from “Finding Nemo,” is a Regal Blue Tang, scientifically known as Paracanthurus hepatus. These fish are renowned for their stunning blue coloration, distinctive markings, and their role in coral reef ecosystems. By understanding the real-life inspiration behind Dory, we gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty and diversity of marine life in our oceans.

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