Since the release of Finding Nemo by Walt Disney Pictures in May 2003, it is not unusual to frequently hear excited little voices yelling “look mom, it’s a Nemo fish” or “there’s Gill”. In 1988, an adult movie named A Fish Called Wanda was released. This probably is the reason that we often refer to the bottom fish of the official logo as “Wanda”. The logo is made up of three vertebrates and one invertebrate (starfish in the center). The animals were selected because of their abundance, brilliant range of colors and intricate markings. As you may have noticed, over the years, we often refer to The Dallas World Aquarium as the DWA – much easier and shorter. Likewise, we often use Wanda as our logo, rather than the original one. She is the large aluminum fish on the corner of the building (Corbin and Griffin Streets).
The upper left fish is an anthias, the upper right is a tang and Wanda is a dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus). This species has been part of the collection since 1992 and can currently be seen in the New Guinea and Japan exhibits. Reaching a maximum length of four inches, it is perhaps the most astonishing marine fish to be found, with its coloration and patterns being unrivaled. The scaleless body has shades of bright blue, green, orange, red and black. Just as varied as their colors are their common names. Mandarin dragonet is believed to originate from its coloration said to be as vivid as the robes of an Imperial Chinese mandarin. These fish are also called Paisley fish because of their resemblance to “paisley” prints and Psychedelic fish due to their bizarre coloration.
Regardless of their name, they are comical in their behavior as they move about the bottom looking for food. They feed on small crustaceans that live within the crevices of the reef and are best kept in a reef tank. The first dorsal spine on males is elongated; females lack the elongated spine. On your next visit, be sure to find “Wanda”, you will not be disappointed.