Mudskippers – the multitalented creatures of the sea

Have you ever seen a fish that can walk on land? You have now.

 

The mudskipper is an amphibious fish, able to use its pectoral fins to walk on land. Mostly found in intertidal habitats and estuaries, they have developed a way to survive the changing tides.

15184970133_75793f6965_zMost creatures take to rock pools to escape the low tide, however, mudskippers are able to spend this dry time walking around mudflats foraging for food. They spend several hours at a time on land, skipping across the mud banks and mangroves feasting on insects, shrimps, crabs and other small creatures.

So how do they breathe?

When submerged and swimming underwater, mudskippers use their gills to absorb dissolved oxygen, just like other fish. When preparing for land, they store water in enlarged gill chambers which they ‘lock’ shut to keep their gills moist – much like reverse scuba equipment! Mudskippers are widely spread and can be seen in East Africa, Madagascar, Bengal, southeast Asia, northern Australia, southeast China, southern Japan.