“If you have explored our local mangrove habitats, a unique fish ‘out of water’ may have caught your eye and aroused your curiosity. This is none other than the Giant Mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri). Its stout body can be as long as a banana (above), and its stoic face can look like an overripe soursop (below).
“For a mudskipper, life in the mangroves is not without its challenges and frustrations. A typical nuisance comes in the form of mosquitoes and biting midges, which tend to congregate around the head region.
“To better understand this annoyance, here is a top view (above)…
“…side view (above)…
“…and full frontal view (above).
“So, how do the mudskippers deal with these perpetual pests? From my observations, they may employ either of two techniques:
“Fresh and moist mud is smeared all over the body as the mudskipper frolics on the substrate (above).
“A video clip of this process may be previewed here:
“Whilst in the water, the mudskipper submerges its head entirely underwater at regular intervals to seek relief (below).
“A video clip of this behaviour may be previewed here:
“So, how effective are these methods to repel the mosquitoes and midges?
“Watch the videos, you decide.”
Dr. Leong Tzi Ming
29th November 2016