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What kind of fish is Flounder in The Little Mermaid?

The Little Mermaid cast introduces a live-action version of Flounder in the new movie. So let's find out what kind of fish the little fella is supposed to be.

Flounder and Ariel in The Little Mermaid

What kind of fish is Flounder in The Little Mermaid? Look, we know that Disney’s penchant for photorealistic live-action animals is a little spooky. Even the biggest Disney lovers might have to admit to struggling when a completely legit-looking lion or crab starts belting out a classic song.

The Little Mermaid is the latest of the live-action Disney remakes, and populates its underwater world with uncanny valley critters. Our critic Charlotte Colombo fell in love with the movie in her five-star Little Mermaid review, but it’s fair to say the internet has not been kind to one character in particular. Poor old Flounder and his dead, dead eyes have taken a battering, before most of us have even seen the remake of one of the best animated movies in the Disney canon.

So we know that he’s probably the most unintentionally terrifying creature in The Little Mermaid live-action cast, but what kind of fish is Flounder? The answer is actually more complicated than you think. So let’s head under the sea – after all, it’s better down where it’s wetter – to satisfy your curiosity.

What kind of fish is Flounder in The Little Mermaid?

Flounder is a tropical fish, most likely an angelfish. The one thing we know for sure is that he certainly isn’t a flounder.

Flounders are a large family of flatfish, which certainly bear no resemblance to either the live-action Flounder or the rounder version we know and love from one of the best ’80s movies ever made. So we can rule that out.

Flounder in the original Little Mermaid Disney movie scared of a shark

According to The Little Mermaid’s TV series, Flounder’s full name is Guppy Number 35. However, guppies are much smaller and more colourful fish, with larger and more flamboyant tails than we can see on either the new or old Flounder design.

In fact, the word “guppy” has been used in The Little Mermaid to mean someone young and naïve, rather than a specific reference to the type of fish.

Whatever consensus there is about Flounder seems to orbit around the idea that he’s some sort of tropical fish. Certainly, the Royal angelfish (below) has the distinctive yellow and blue coloring of the animated Flounder. Meanwhile, the more common angelfish seen in aquariums resembles the live-action Flounder.

The Royal angelfish could have been an inspiration for Flounder

So there you have it, everything we know about the real-world inspiration for Flounder. Whatever kind of fish he is, he’s absolutely still terrifying.

To find out more about one of the biggest new movies of the summer, check out how to watch The Little Mermaid and our piece on how Little Mermaid star Melissa McCarthy doesn’t always play the same character, despite what the haters think.

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And if you’re already humming the songs from your favorite Disney movie, we’ve got a full Little Mermaid soundtrack list. Get your Spotify prepped in advance, because you’ll be dancing out of the cinema.

We’ve also got guides to some of the best movies coming to cinemas and the best streaming services this year and beyond, including the Wonka release date, The Marvels release date, and the Paddington 3 release date.