Tag Archives: protandrous hermaphrodite

Why Nemo would face an inevitable mid-life crisis: A finding Nemo 2 would not be Disney friendly

2 Jun
Photo edited by: Me! (obviously a real female cownfish does not look like this...)

Photo edited by: Me! (obviously a real female cownfish does not look like this…)

If you’ve seen the movie Finding Nemo, and didn’t like it–shame on you! Pixar movies always have the right amount of humor, recognizable voices and great graphics that make them appealing to both children and adults. Their sequels are almost always just as profitable as the originals, and they’re ability to make animation seem like reality is superb! But, although I love this movie, there are serious factual flaws.

Instead of prolonging the story of Finding Nemo, a movie about  the journey a father clownfish trying to locate his son, producers have decided to focus the new plot on the forgetful Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres) instead of documenting how Nemo has grown, and I think I might know why.

Depending on how far in the future the sequel is set, Nemo might look a bit different, and the name “Nema” may better suit him. Chances are, Nemo would now be a woman.

A cute little fish undergoing a blatant sex change may not sit so well with Disney viewers’ parents.

Clownfish, scientific name Amphiprion ocellaris, are by nature sequential hermaphrodites. This means that the fish is one sex for part of its life, and when it matures, it becomes another sex. In this case, Nemo is a protandrous hermaphrodite, meaning he was born as a male, but once he matures, he could turn into a female.

Contrary to clownfish, Protogynous hermaphrodites, are organisms that are born female and mature into males. Grouper and parrotfishes are some examples of protogynous organisms.

But, the possibility of a sex change is not the only detail wrong with the movie.

Clownfish also operate within a strict dominance hierarchy, meaning that the largest and most aggressive female dominates the group, and hence is the one who reproduces with the males.  Once that female is killed removed from the group, the largest and most dominant male transforms into a female, and then is the head ofthe group.

Therefore, in reality the original Finding Nemo plot would’ve gone a bit differently, and frankly would be pretty disturbing.

In the movie, Nemo’s mother dies, meaning, in the real marine world Nemo’s father would’ve been the next clownfish to become the dominant female and would hence mate with Nemo. Now, of course the producers of this family film didn’t mimic reality–probably in the interest of not making the film PG-13 or even R.

But, one has to wonder how the movie would’ve turned out had producers did a bit of research into the marine creatures they featured.