The Skeptical Samurai Guide to the Movies: Finding Nemo

Time for another instalment of…

The Skeptical Samurai’s Guide to the Movies!

This week’s movie: Finding Nemo

I am not going to dissect the entire movie, as this is not the type of movie that really lends itself to Fact vs. Fiction treatment.  Instead, I am going to focus on one aspect of this film.  More specifically, I am going to focus on the opening sequence.  In the opening scene we are introduced to Marlin…

…a nervous wreck of a clown fish who, to the disappointment of his friends, cannot tell a joke to save his life.  We learn that Marlin’s nervousness is a direct result of a traumatic incident involving his deceased wife, Coral. 

In the film, Coral, Merlin and their young (who are just eggs at this point) where viciously ambushed and attacked by an “evil” barracuda.  The result of this encounter was that Coral and all but one of the children perished.  The boy with the gimpy, I mean lucky, flipper…


The above events set the stage for the rest of film.      

And let us stop right there.  It is this opening sequence that requires clarification and correction.  I mean we cannot allow an entire generation of young and old alike be mislead regarding the mating habits of Amphiprion, or clown fish as they are more commonly called, can we!  The skeptical samurai will not stand by and watch as Disney/Pixar poisons the minds of all those who have watched this movie!  The truth must be told!

In the words of Sheldon Cooper…


You see, Amphiprion

are sequential hermaphrodites.  Most people know what a hermaphrodite is.  It is a classification that signifies that an animal has sexual characteristics of both a male and a female.  But what many people do not know is that there are different classes of hermaphrodites in the animal kingdom.  The designation of sequential hermaphrodite is used to identify animals that are born as one sex, but have the ability to change into the opposite sex at a later stage in their life cycle. 

Clown fish live together in groups consisting of 1 female and a number of males.  The female is the oldest within the group and is the lone breeding female.  Despite several males in the group, only one will mate with the female, specifically, the eldest male.  The rest of the younger male clown fish will not mate with the female.  Now, if for some reason the female is removed from the group (as the result of death, predation, etc) then the oldest/breeding male will become a female, and the oldest non-mating male will become the new breeding male.  Order, balance and mating hierarchy has then been restored for the clown fish.    

So with all of that in mind…

For the film to be an accurate portrayal of what would have actually happened in nature Marlin should have become Marlene and Nemo would have become a sexually mature male…

And well…

You can figure the rest out! 

But at the end of the day I guess we are having this discussion in relation to talking cartoon fish, so I guess we can let it slide.

This has been the Skeptical Samurai

Working to serve…

Through the process of inquiry…


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