Mudskipper is a fish that belongs to the goby family. There are 34 species of mudskippers that can be found in the coastal waters of Pacific and Indian Ocean. Mudskipper lives in tropical and subtropical waters of various salinity. It inhabits tidal mudflats, estuaries and mangrove swamps. Even though habitat destruction threatens survival of mudskippers in the wild, their population is still large and stable. Mudskippers are not on the list of endangered species.
Mudskipper can reach 2.75 to 9.75 inches in length.
Mudskippers are usually olive-brown colored. Some species are covered with blue markings. Mudskipper has frog-like, protruding eyes, torpedo-shaped body, muscular pectoral fins and two dorsal fins.
Eyes of mudskipper move independently of each other. They can visualize objects above and below the surface of the water at the same time.
Mudskipper is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet is based on insects, crustaceans, small fish and worms.
Unlike other fish, mudskipper is able to survive on the solid ground during the low tide. It breathes using the gills, mucous membranes of the throat and mouth and dense capillary network in the skin.
Mudskipper likes to rests on the roots, rocks and other objects located above the surface of the water. Too much time under the water can actually kill mudskipper.
Mudskipper moves across the muddy surface using modified pectoral fins. Unlike the legs, pectoral fins move at the same time and pull the body forward. This type of movement is also known as "crutching" because pectoral fins resemble pair of crutches.
Mudskipper is also able to jump 2 feet in the air and climb on various structures thanks to sucker-like pelvic fins.
Mudskipper needs to roll its eyeballs into the sockets filled with water and to refresh face and gills with water to prevent dehydration during the low tide.
Some species of mudskippers dig burrows in the mud. Burrows are usually J, U or V-shaped and have entrance below the surface of the water. Since burrows are poorly ventilated, mudskipper occasionally releases air bubbles into the burrow to increase the level of the oxygen.
Mudskipper is territorial animal. It builds low, wall-like ridges to mark the borders of its territory.
Throat and chin of male mudskippers become golden colored during the breeding season. Males perform push-ups and jump high in the air and expose their dorsal fins before they return into the water to impress females.
Female deposits eggs inside the specially designed chamber within the burrow. Male guards the eggs until they hatch. Some mudskippers release eggs into the water. Mudskippers can be kept as pets. They can be trained to take food from the hands of their keepers.
Mudskippers can survive more than 5 years in the wild.