Stars of
the Sea

Fishy WOW Facts

Here at SEA LIFE Grapevine, we have expanded our summer offering to meet a wave of interest in this film season’s most famous fish. In addition to acquiring more “saltwater celebrities”, including 21 regal tangs – known popularly as “dory” – the we have updated our displays, educational resources and ocean talks with the latest fishy facts. Check them out below! 

Regal Tangs

  • Regal tangs are also called Palette Tangs because their markings look like an artist’s palette.
  • Regal tangs have a sharp yellow spine by their tail that they use for both offence and defense.
  • This spine is called a scalpel and is why tangs are called surgeon fish.
  • Regal tangs can frighten easily, so they like to have a safe place to sleep at night so they find a nice little hole in the rockwork on the reef and wedge themselves in.
  • Regal tangs have sharp adapted teeth on the outside of their lips that resemble a beak to scrape algae from the reef for food.


  • All clownfish are born male. The most dominant fish becomes female after fighting against the others. When this female dies the process begins again, with the next highest in dominance fighting to change sex.
  • In the wild, Female clownfish will usually lay their eggs at a full moon; they then hatch at dusk after just 6 days!
  • Even though clownfish live in the ocean – they are actually not very strong swimmers! This means they never choose to go far away from their home.
  • Clownfish are very territorial, particularly while the male is guarding up to 1000 eggs laid by the female.
  • The clownfish use the anemone’s sting to protect itself against predators.


  • Most rays are benthic feeders –this means they travel along the sea floor blowing and sucking water in and out their mouths to capture their food. Many rays like the cownose ray then have teeth plates to help crush any shells of their prey.
  • Rays and sharks are part of the same family, and have a skeleton made of cartilage, which is much more flexible than bone. – Our ears and nose are made from it!
  • Rays and sharks are one of the oldest species on the planet existing for nearly 500 million years.
  • Some ray species live in the sea and other ray species live in freshwater like rivers and lakes. 


  • Anemone’s use their sting to protect against predators and capture prey. The clownfish use the anemone to feed, they eat what is left behind from the anemone’s catch. In return their waste helps to feed to anemone!
  • Anemone’s that have a clownfish living in them has a personal grooming service – the clownfish removes detritus, waste and parasites from the anemone.
  • Although anemones are an animal rather than a plant, some are actually photosynthetic – using the sunlight to create energy for themselves. 


  • Octopuses are the only invertebrates seen to ever use tools – the coconut octopus will carry coconut shells as protection.
  • Octopuses’ brains are spread throughout its body, including its arms – speeding up problem solving.
  • Three hearts pump blue blood around the Giant Pacific Octopuses body which can have an arm span of 6m!
  • Octopus can squeeze through the tiniest spaces! The restriction is based on the size of the beak.


  • Tetrodotoxin is the venom in a pufferfish - which is over 1000X more powerful than cyanide!
  • When pufferfish are threatened they puff themselves up as a stress response - sometimes up to 3 times their size! This is done by ingesting huge amounts of water quickly.
  • The porcupine pufferfish has spikes all over his body so that he is even more protected from predators.

Yellow Tang

  • The white “spot” at the base of the tail of the Yellow tang is actually a sharp scalpel they use for defense and aggression – this gives them their other name “surgeon fish”.
  • Yellow tangs love to eat seaweed – even eating algae from rocks and passing turtles’ shells.
  • While Yellow tangs sleep on the reefs at night they can use their scalpels at the base of their tails to fix themselves onto a rock – making them even safer.