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MUDSKIPPERS: THE FISH THAT LIVE ON LAND

Found deep within the damp swamps and marshes of the Indo-Pacific are the mudskippers, one of the small tropical gobies of the family Gobiidae. The mudskipper possesses the miraculous ability to climb, walk, and skip about out of water.


These fish are quite unique creatures. Mudskippers are fish that spend nearly three-fourths of their lives above the water line. Although they are fish, mudskippers breathe air. They breathe through their skin and the lining of their mouths when wet, and when submerged, they extract oxygen from the water using their gills and specialized tissue. This ability allows them to spend up to 2 days away from water, however, the necessity to keep moist restricts them to very humid areas.


Out of the water, mudskippers are very active. They feed and interact with each other, defend their territory, and court potential mates. Mudskippers typically live in burrows, and after the male has dug one, he travels back to the surface to attract a partner through energetic displays and poses.


These fish, despite their goofy looks, are aggressive, and highly territorial. They construct walls from mud to defend their burrows and ward off any potential trespassers. While helping defend their homes, these walls also trap a pool of water in the fish’s territory, which allows for the growth of single-celled algae called diatoms, which serve as food for the fish. Along with algae, they also eat bugs, small fish, and crustaceans.


In closing, the mudskipper fish is certainly one of the most interesting creatures on Earth. Its ability to traverse both water and land is incredibly unique and few and far between. I wonder what other strange creatures are out there, waiting to be discovered.

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