When Walt Disney Animation Studios aired the animated feature film, The Little Mermaid in 1989, most viewers were immediately captivated by its characters and vibrancy of the film. One such character that stood out was Flounder, Ariel’s best friend who never left her side through every adventure. But was Flounder truly a flounder fish like his name suggested? The quick answer is no, because Flounder is – according to Walt Disney Animation Studios, supposedly a guppy. So why was he named Flounder when wasn’t a flounder? Let’s dive right in and go under the sea to find out!
Flounder’s Past: A History on The Little Mermaid’s Favorite Fish
According to the animated studios, Flounder is known to have come from a large school of fishes. His actual name is Guppy Number 35 – which further solidifies Flounder’s actual species. While the details as to how Flounder met Ariel have been fuzzy through the years, one thing is known for sure and that is Flounder is a loyal companion to everyone’s sea princess. Featuring a yellow body with blue stripes and green eyes, Flounder’s personality is said to be timid and has a dislike for adventure. He is however very protective of Ariel and despite his fear of almost everything around him, he chooses to stay by Ariel’s side through thick and thin.
The “real” Species of Flounder from The Little Mermaid
There are however several arguments about the real species of Flounder, with some avid Disney fans noting that Flounder is not based on a real fish. Instead, Flounder was simply an artist’s rendition of several fish breeds put into one. Here are some of the fishes that many fans believe have been put together to make up Flounder:
- Regal Angelfish – The Regal Angelfish is a saltwater fish that is typically orange or yellow and features silver or blue stripes. They also occasionally carry a black stripe. They’re also fondly known as the Royal Angelfish and are native to the Red Sea, Tahiti, Indonesia, and the Maldives. Regal Angelfishes are known to have a semi-aggressive temperament and require a high level of care. Regal Angelfishes typically consume fresh shrimp and chopped seafood, although they can also be fed marina algae, Spirulina, and special angelfish feed that contains sponges. With good care, a Regal Angelfish could grow up to 7 inches and requires tons of hiding spaces if kept in an aquarium.
- Yellow Tang – Also known as the Yellow Hawaiian Tang, the Yellow Tang is a saltwater fish native to Hawaiian shores. They boast a bright yellow body, and at adulthood could grow up to 8 inches in size. The Yellow Tang is fairly easy to care for and are highly active swimmers, so you’ll probably see them actively illuminating any saltwater aquarium they are kept in. They do however have a semi-aggressive temperament to other Tangs of all species, so they are best kept away from other Tang fishes. A diet for a Yellow Tang typically consists of marine-based seaweed and algae, although they would occasionally have meaty foods as the other fishes do.
- Convict Tang – The Convict Tang is a different species of Tang to that of the Yellow Tang. Featuring a white and silver body with thick black stripes, this fish is occasionally known as the Convict Surgeonfish and is relatively smaller to the other Tangs. Like the Yellow Tang however, the Convict Tang also boasts a semi-aggressive nature and may attack other Tangs of the same aquarium. The Convict Tang is native to the seas of Africa, Fiji, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, and Tahiti. They require a moderate amount of care in a large saltwater aquarium and at its largest, a Convict Tang can grow up to 8 inches. This however is a rare phenomenon for this fish. A Convict Tang’s diet regularly consists of marine-based seaweed and algae, although they too would feed on other meaty foods if offered. Breeding a Convict Tang is no walk in the park as they can retain in a planktonic state for months. Water filters may also harm the Convict Tang during the breeding stage, so they must be kept away.
The Many Appearances of Flounder
Although there isn’t an exact answer to what kind of fish Flounder is, it goes without saying that this adorably round and yellow fish is a crowd favorite. After his first appearance in 1989, Flounder has since appeared in numerous follow-up productions from Disney. Here is a collection of where you may have seen everyone’s favorite blue and yellow fish:
- The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea in the year 2000
- Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse in 2001
- The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning in the year 2008
- Little Mermaid’s Island from 2000 to 2001
- The Little Mermaid from 1992 to 1994
- House of Mouse from 2001 to 2003
- The Little Mermaid released in 1991 for the Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy
- The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea released in 2000 for the Sony PlayStation
- The Little Mermaid II: Pinball Frenzy released in 2000 for the Nintendo Game Boy Color
- Kingdom Hearts released in 2002 for the Sony PlayStation 2
- Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories released in 2004 for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance
- Kingdom Hearts II released in 2006 for the Sony PlayStation 2
- Disney Princess Enchanting Storybooks released in 2011 for the Nintendo Wii
- Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure released in 2011 for the Nintendo Wii
- Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion released in 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS
- Disney Tsum Tsum released in 2014 in collaboration with the LINE app for the iOS and Android mobile platforms
- Disney Magic Kingdoms released in 2015 for the iOS, Android, and Windows mobile platforms
- Disney Magical World 2 released in 2016 for the Nintendo 3DS
- Disney Emoji Blitz released in 2016 for the iOS, Android, and Windows mobile platforms
There have also been rumors circling the return of Flounder in the upcoming live-action film of The Little Mermaid that is produced by Walt Disney Pictures.