A fish that can walk, climb, and jump even breathe oxygen

A picture of a mudskipper.

WHAT A SIGHT!


When standing on the edge of a mangrove swamp, you maybe looking out at what you may think are empty mud flats.

But as it turns out, however, they are not empty.

A peculiar troupe of acrobats maybe performing. Peculiar in what way?

Each one of this acrobats is no more than six inches [15 cm] long and is a fish.

Although the thought of a fish walking and jumping seems about as unlikely as elephants flying, this is precisely what you will see them doing.

But how can a fish walk, climb, and jump—yes, even breathe—while out of the water?

The fish that can perform all those things are called a mudskippers.

Among their unusual attributes are their eyes, which pop out of their head and then retract.

Another feature is their pectoral fins, which the mudskipper uses to propel itself over mud—much like a human can use crutches to move around.

How does a mudskipper jump?


This unusual fish can flick itself forward with its tail, projecting itself as much as two feet [60 cm] through the air.

Mudskippers are also accomplished civil engineers, using their fins as shovels to build burrows in the mud.

The mudskipper has a built-in oxygen tank—its mouth and gill chambers, which are kept full of water when it is “diving” on land.

When the oxygen in its “tank” is used up, it scuttles off to a mud pool for a refill.

If you have access to mud flats in Africa or Asia and if you can endure mosquitoes and the tropical sun, why not try to look for the mudskipper?

Then you too will be able to say that you have seen a fish walking!