ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Mudskipper, The walking fish

Updated on September 11, 2015

Mudskippers are a quite impressive species of fish. They are literally walking fish and give us important hints about the evolutionary steps that eventually brought us out of the oceans. There’s a diversity of mudskippers breeds, but most of them share the same peculiar and awesome traits that makes them famous.

The mudskipper is usually olive-brown colored, although some species are covered with blue markings. Their length can go from 4 to 12 inches long, and their pectoral fins are large and elongated, protruding from the body wall. This weird setup creates a division, setting two fins with independent muscle sets. These highly modified pectoral fins have evolved to serve as legs; instead of swimming like most fish, they use them to hop while they are on land.

One unique and astounding organ in these little fish is their eyes. These fishes have their eyes mounted on top of their heads, and each of them can move independently giving them a fantastic panoramic view, inside and outside of the water. Their eyes are guarded by a thin and clear layer of skin; since they do not possess tears ducts to keep their eyes moist, they constantly roll them into their sockets as a form of protection and to keep them wet.

But how can the mudskipper survive long periods of time outside the water? Mudskippers are able to extract the environment oxygen from multiple parts of their bodies. Don’t be mistaken, they breathe through gills like every other fish, but their superb respiratory system allows them to absorb a large amount of oxygen trough their skin.

When they come out of the water, they fill their special pouches with liquid. This way, they store all the water they need to keep their gills hydrated and lubricated. Who said a fish needed an ocean to survive? However, mudskippers need to keep their mouths and skin hydrated, in order to diffuse the oxygen with water so they can absorb it and continue to be the restless little fish that we know.

Their diet is based mostly on small creatures, such as insects, sand worms, brine shrimp, and small crustaceans.

Mudskippers are known for being restless and dynamic. Spending most of their time outside the water, they feed and interact with other mudskippers, for example, to defend their territories. They inhabit earth and underwater areas found in the Indo-Pacific, from Africa to Polynesia and Australia, but they are especially fond of swamps, lagoons, and rivers estuaries. They usually spend most of their time on land, thanks to their amazing ability to stay out of the water for almost three-quarters of the daytime. The only time they need to go underwater is when they need to refill their storage gills.

When mating season arrives, male mudskippers do not stay put, and to be true, who would? They perform what appear to be push-ups, leaps and flips in the air and even stand on their tails. Literally anything in their power in order to capture the female’s attention. The males also become more aggressive, defying other males with biting and raising their dorsal fins. Then, if the female likes what she sees, she does her own series of signs to let the male know she´s available. After mating, she enters into the male’s lair where she lays her eggs in a special part the male previously built for her. Soon after, the male fertilizes the eggs and takes care of the offspring.

If you happen to plan a visit to exotic places, such as the Moremi Game Reserve in Africa, or some of Australia’s Coral Coast, be on the lookout for these amazing little fish, and who knows? You might even discover more exciting things about these little but feisty animals.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)