That Cute Cartoon Fish Nemo is Actually a Hermaphrodite
Finding Nemo brought us a world closer to the lives of seawater beauties. But how they actually are in real-life is completely unlike the Pixar animation describes. Patrick Cooney, a fisheries researcher at The Fisheries Blog, talks about the real deal with clownfish, and let's just say it makes the Oedipus complex sound juvenile:
Father and mother clownfish are tending to their clutch of eggs at their sea anemone when the mother is eaten by a barracuda. Nemo hatches as an undifferentiated hermaphrodite (as all clownfish are born) while his father transforms into a female now that his female mate is dead. Since Nemo is the only other clownfish around, he becomes a male and mates with his father (who is now a female). Should his father die, Nemo would change into a female and mate with another male. Although a much different storyline, it still sounds like a crazy adventure!
Cooney includes this video that describes how clownfish can change its sex according to its social environment. We still love Finding Nemo, but sometimes a dose of reality is refreshing: