Tuesday, February 22, 2011
February 22, 2011 : Mudskipper
Mudskippers are members of the subfamily Oxudercinae (tribe Periophthalmini), within the family Gobiidae (Gobies). They are completely amphibious fish, fish that can use their pectoral fins to walk on land. Being amphibious, they are uniquely adapted to intertidal habitats, unlike most fish in such habitats which survive the retreat of the tide by hiding under wet seaweed or in tidal pools. Mudskippers are quite active when out of water, feeding and interacting with one another, for example to defend their territories.
They are found in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions, including the Indo-Pacific and the Atlantic coast of Africa.
The genus Periophthalmus is by far the most diverse and widespread genus of mudskipper. Eighteen species have been described. Periophthalmus argentilineatus is one of the most widespread and well known species. It can be found in mangrove ecosystems and mudflats of East Africa and Madagascar east through the Sundarbans of Bengal, South East Asia to Northern Australia, southeast China and southern Japan, up to Samoa and Tonga Islands. It grows to a length of about 9.5 cm and is a carnivorous opportunist feeder. It feeds on small prey such as small crabs and other arthropods. Another species, Periophthalmus barbarus, is the only oxudercine goby that inhabits the coastal areas of western Africa.