Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Illustration Friday - feet- mudskipper

This week's topic is feet - which made me think immediately about mudskippers.

Mudskippers [also known as mudhoppers] are amphibious fish in the Gobiidae family who live in brackish water in mangrove swamps.

Mudskippers don't exactly have feet since they are fish ; though they can walk , jump , run and limb trees.

They use their modified pectoral fins as their feet and legs and can move fairly quickly on land -though their 'walk' is more like a series of small jumps or like someone using crutches.

They climb trees using their pelvic fins like a sucker while the pectoral fins grab the branch and pull themselves up.


They use their gills to breathe when under water . On land, they can breathe through their skin and the lining of the mouth [when its skin is wet] but they rely mainly on special water storage pouches which allow their gills to continue to collect oxygen. When there is no more oxygen in the stored water, the fish will refill the water pouches.

The need to keep the skin and eyes moist and fill up the gill pouches regularly with water means that the mudskippers don't stray far inland.

Having their eyes on top of their heads gives them an enormous field of view and these eyes can see in colour on land and black and white under water.

They can also see above and below water at the same time using their eyes something like a submarine's periscope.

This is obviously useful in avoiding predators [snakes and birds] and also catching prey [insects, crabs, prawns- though some species feed on algae.]





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16 comments:

Jeannine said...

I find it so interesting how the word "feet" lead you to think about this creature and all of its characteristics!

The drawing is fantastic! I love its eyes.

Rowantree said...

Another great illo about nature world and full documented !

Minda said...

I love the muted colors. Great illo!

disappointed said...

lovely colours - a pensive mudskipper!

michael dailey said...

great dwg love th expression an the face plus the use of a diagonal compostion nice excution of colors to

Si-Guy said...

Great Info & Great Illo! Love it!

Rrramone said...

Interesting illustration. And I really like the blurb about you. Alice in Wonderland is the best.

marion said...

Sweet mudskipper. He has a slightly pensive/apprehensive look, not too overly cheery! :-)

carla said...

You really have such a great store of knowledge about esoteric wildlife! I found this post especially fascinating, because I've always been intrigued by the idea of walking fish. Your little fellow is awfully cute..but he looks a bit overwhelmed being stuck out there on a limb!

HARDWAX said...

Fascinating story and creature, very natural looking and appealing illo..

Bron Smith said...

You have an exquisite rendering style.

The Unknown said...

Wow! That looks amazing!
Have you ever heard of Muddy Mudskipper the cartoon character?
love

the heartful blogger said...

Wow that is fantastic, he's quite a handsome little mudskipper too!

Trevor Pitt said...

Great illustration! I love Muddy's expression. It's as if he's about to either let go of a bunch of air or get sick. Believe it or not I learned something new. Now I shall use my knowledge of mudskippers at the zoo so people will think I'm smart.
Ta

Ian T. said...

So they're apparently related to the fish that live in our creek (the climbing ones)? Amazing!

Mudskippers are delightful creatures and your picture well captures the essence of their cuteness (without becoming stylised) - good choice and pic!

Christine Lim Simpson said...

Great lesson on the mudskipper. You did a wonderful illo of the fish.