Nice to see you again friends and welcome back to FOTW for another fun (yet safe) encounter with an unusual creature the mudskipper. Gratitude has to go out to a certain young man in the form of Ed, a man so utterly converted to the subaquatic goodness that he suggested this weeks featuring fish to me. Well done Ed, gold star to you.
After researching mudskippers I’ve concluded that they are SCUBA divers as well. SCUBA units allow you to explore an environment which is not normally your own by trapping air in some form and breathing from it while your there. For us it’s the glorious transition from boring old land to super awesome water. Mudskippers flip reverse this and venture onto land! Cool.
Mudskippers live in tropical, subtropical and temperate regions around the globe but you knew that. How on earth do the live out of water though? Well unlike normal fish they have the ability to breathe through their skin, mouth and throat. This is similar to the type of breathing employed by amphibians called ‘cutaneous air breathing’.
Another important adaptation is the enlarged gill chambers where they retain an air bubble (scuba cylinder!). Aforementioned chambers seal tightly when the fish is above water keeping the gills moist allowing them to function and let the fish respire on land. Truly a fish out of water the Mudskipper can survive out of water for almost 4 days.
Getting about while diving would be a bit of and issue without fins. Feet are OK but don’t really give the propulsion needed to power us through this strange new medium. This is a synthetic adaptation however the Mudskipper had to evolve theirs so that they could get about on land while they ‘dive’.
Like our friend the psychedelic frogfish the mudskipper uses its pectoral fins to shimmy along whilst visiting us on land however one rather impressive move in the little fishes repertoire is the ability to flick its body and leap up to 2 feet in the air. So it seems the water and the land aren’t good enough with mudskippers looking to conquer the heavens as well.
So there you have it, amphibious SCUBA diving fish. What next? Only you can decide.