Do All Blue Tang Fish Suffer From Memory Loss?

On June 17, the long-awaited sequel to 2003 Pixar flick Finding Nemo will swim into theaters, so be sure to write it down in your planner before your memory pulls a you-know-who. Yes, Finding Dory is almost here, and yes, the movie looks as delightful as all get-out. Ellen DeGeneres will once again provide the voice for Dory, the charming (albeit forgetful) blue tang fish, and Dory’s forgetfulness will once again provide the comedic relief and roadblocks. Now, if you've ever wondered whether the titular character's short-term memory loss was an anomaly or if it happens to be a trait common in that species, then you've cannonballed into the right ocean, er, link. So, do real-life royal blue tang fish have as much trouble with their memory vaults as Dory does? The short answer: Eh, probably not.

While I haven't found any studies regarding the memory of the blue tang fish specifically (I know, I know, but stay with me), I have thumbed through some of the fish memory capacity research that is out there. And the conclusion: Fish be remeberin', the blue tang included (probably). As Melissa Hogenboom wrote for BBC.com back in November 2015, “Like other fish, the royal blue tang is unlikely to have a bad short-term memory. There are no studies to suggest any fish has a ‘three-second memory.’”

Ah, yes. The three-second memory myth that has plagued goldfish (and other befinned and bescaled aquatic creatures) for as long as humans have kept them in captivity.

So, unless this species happens to, I don't know, be the one species of fish that does experience short-term memory loss on a regular basis, it seems like Dory's forgetfulness is a Dory thing, not a royal blue tang thing.

Image: Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios