As for clownfish, the species that brings us li'l Nemo and his dad, it turns out that there is actually more than one species to consider. The latest numbers from marine biology researchers suggests there are currently about 28 to 30 species of clownfish.
“With marine biology, it's always changing,” Paig-Tran explains. “We don't ever really know how many of everything there is. Like there's a new species of manta that just came out two years ago.”
Speaking of which, the panel fishes out some related trivia on that species, too. It turns out that Mr. Ray, Nemo's science teacher in the movie, isn't a manta ray at all. He's a spotted eagle ray.
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Paig-Tran also tackles that abiding question from movies, tall tales, and ocean fables: Could a person really be swallowed by a whale and survive in the whale's stomach? “In the stomach, not so much,” she says. “Digestive juices.”
On the plus side, it's actually pretty much impossible for a person to be swallowed at all.
“Whales have an esophagus, and it closes, so it's not swallowing things it doesn't want,” Paig-Tran says. “It's also pretty small. Like, I would not fit in a whale's esophagus. And it would know I was there and would spit me out.”
So that's reassuring. Tune in for this week's episode for more details on fringe ichthyology, coral aquariums, and the inspirational legacy of the movie.
“We're fifteen years out from Finding Nemo,” Paig-Tran says. “How many kids are in high school right now saying, ‘I'm definitely going to be a marine biologist.’”