The mudskipper is an amphibious fish

The mudskipper is an amphibious fish. It lives part of its life in the water and part of its life on land.

The mudskipper has powerful leg-like pectoral fins which allow it to jump or skip across solid surfaces–usually mud, rocks, or tree roots near its water home. The mudskipper has gills that allow it to absorb oxygen underwater, and it also has a gill cavity that allows it to carry and breathe oxygenated water on land. Like a frog, the mudskipper can also absorb oxygen through its skin.

Mudskippers are found along the eastern coast of Africa from the Red Sea to South Africa. They are also found in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean–the Marianas and Samoa islands, north to Ryukyu Islands and along the northern subtropical coast of Australia. Mudskippers live in intertidal, brackish mudflats and among mangrove estuaries.

Mudskippers of the water for a walk
Mudskippers of the water for a walk

Mudskippers grow to about 6 inches (15 cm) long. They are brownish-grey which allows them to blend into the brackish water and mudflats where they live. However, they often have a black and bright red band on the dorsal fin which they use to warn off intruders and also to attract mates.

Mudskippers have large heads and protruding high-set eyes which allow them to see above the water surface. Commonly at low tide, they will check out the surroundings on land before they leave the water. Out of the water, mudskippers eat marine worms, crustaceans, and insects such as mosquito larvae.

Mudskippers commonly live about 5 years. Mudskippers can first leave the water about 50 days after they are born. The scientific name of the mudskipper is Periophthalmus arentilneatus.

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