Mudskipper is the type of walking or ambulatory fish
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Mudskipper is the type of walking or ambulatory fish

Perhaps the most unusual living creatures that inhabit the mangrove swamps of Kalimantan are the mudskippers, which are fish that spend much their time out of water. They crawl around on flat-surfaced mud at low tide. They are able to do this because they have adapted their breathing, their ways of moving and their eyesight to use on land. Another unusual aspect of mudskippers is that they are one of the few fishes that can actually drown if held underwater. They need to be able to poke their heads above the water's surface and gulp air. Mudskippers retain water in their large gill chamber that closes tightly when the fish is above water. This keeps the gills moist, and allows them to function.

Perhaps the most unusual living creatures that inhabit the mangrove swamps of Kalimantan are the mudskippers, which are fish that spend much their time out of water. They crawl around on flat-surfaced mud at low tide. They are able to do this because they have adapted their breathing, their ways of moving and their eyesight to use on land.

Another unusual aspect of mudskippers is that they are one of the few fishes that can actually drown if held underwater. They need to be able to poke their heads above the water's surface and gulp air. Mudskippers retain water in their large gill chamber that closes tightly when the fish is above water. This keeps the gills moist, and allows them to function. You will often see them rotate their eyes to mix the water in the gill chamber and keep the gills from sticking together while at the same time supplying them with oxygen. Mudskippers can actually breathe the same air that we do. They absorb oxygen though blood-rich membranes found at the back of the throat. They can also absorb air through the capillary-rich skin providing the skin remains wet.

There are two common kinds of mudskippers in Kalimantan. One of those is the blue-spotted Boleopthalmus boddaerti, which is about seven inches long and often places its body in the lower parts of the mud. The other one is the orange-spotted Periophalmus chrysospilos, which is shorter in length and has a habit of walking on land away from the swampy areas. Both kinds of mudskippers, like any normal fish, can stay a long time underwater. But while most fish die out of water because their gills become dry, mudskippers can carry a mixture of water and air in their “swollen” gill chambers, which enables them to use oxygen for a relatively long time when they are on land.

To move around on hard mud, mudskippers use their arm-like fins and “walk”. On softer-mud, they skip. The mudskippers do their skipping by bending their tails then with a powerful jerk they straighten them, and jump forward like four-legged animals.  In getting a natural was for their eyes, the mudskippers wet their eyes by rolling them downward into pools of water found in holes. The lidless eyeball is an amazing fish-like organ and round in shape. However, mudskippers have long distance eyesight which matched that of land animals.

Mudskippers also feed on land. The Boleopthalmus schews alga or any other tiny plants found in the mud, while the smaller Periopthalmus eats worms, small crabs and mollucs (shelled-animals). The Periopthalmus is not a good “hunter” for it often misses its prey. To catch a snail it must wait until the body is fully visible and then it rip it from the shell. An unsuccessful jump to catch the prey often causes the fish’s snout to be buried in the mud. When feeding, the mudskippers cannot stay a long time on land. Each time it opens its mouth, the gill covers open up and a lot of oxygen come out of it. Within about half a minute it must return to water to regain its oxygen supply.

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Comments (1)
tomato_alex

thank you very much for your information! i am a big fan of mudskipper too!

i found a cartoon using mudskipper as their characters, let me share with you

cheers!

http://www.angel-alex.com

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