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Indian Mudskipper

Periophthalmus Septemradiatus

The Indian Mudskipper (Periophthalmus Septemradiatus) is a brackish water member of the Gobiidae family that is found throughout northern India, Myanmar, Thailand, peninsular and insular Malaysia; and locally near the Ganges delta in India. Not only are Indian Mudskippers able to breathe air through their skin, and the lining of their mouth and throat; they are also capable of “walking” on land using their modified pectoral and pelvic fins.

Because they can only breathe air through their skin when it is wet, their habitat is limited to very humid climates where they can easily keep themselves moistened when out of water. They posses enlarged gill chambers that allow them to retain a bubble of air. When they are out of the water, the chamber is tightly closed off by a valve in the gill slit which allows their stiff gills to remain moist. Because their gill filaments are so stiff, and do not coalesce when out of water, the Mudskipper has the ability to function on land for extended periods of time. This style of breathing, known as cutaneous air breathing, is similar to the mode used by amphibians.

The Indian Mudskipper‘s pectoral fins have two segments (the radials and the rays) and two movable hinge joints that act as a sort of movable shoulder joint. Their radial pectoral fins are elongated and protrude from their body which enables them to more easily walk on land. The Indian Mudskipper (Periophthalmus Septemradiatus) along with several other species, will dig deep burrows in the soft sediment that they live among which allow the fish to regulate their body temperature, avoid marine predators during high tides when the fish and the burrow are submerged, and to lay their eggs.

The Indian Mudskipper has a grey to brownish background color which is paler towards the dorsal, and white along the ventral and throat areas. The margins of the opercles are dark, and a brown stripe runs dorsally and posteriorly up to the caudal peduncle until it turns into a row of irregular dark blotches. The two series of dark blotches form a pattern of 8 to 10 saddle like bars, and numerous small dark brown, pale red, and pale blue speckles are scattered on the snout.

The scales on the opercles have darker margins, black to dark blue with a reddish margin in males, dusky with series of dark speckles on rays and a red margin. The pectoral fins are greyish with red speckles on rays and the caudal fin is dusky with a series of dark speckles on rays. The anal and pelvic fins are dusky to a dark grey distally that is more bluish in males.

Although there are around 41 known species of mudskippers dispersed throughout the world, there are only 5 species that tropical fish keeping enthusiasts are easily able to procure in the ornamental fish trade with any regularity.

The Indian Mudskipper (Periopthalmodon septemradiatus) is a moderately sized species that grows to about 4 inches in length and is easy to keep.


For use in Paludariums, Terrariums, Wet Exhibits, Frog Habitat, Amphibious fish, Ornamental Pond/Stream