Mudskippers. Check out this weird fish.

[Video link]

This video from the BBC TV series "Life" (one of my favorites) shows these creepy, creepy fish crawling around in the mud and just looking weird. Rob thinks they look like a custom fleshlight, but I don't admit to seeing the resemblance.

Hang around for when they start fighting, it's totally worth it.


  1. They remind me of the fish at the very end of that great Guinness “reverse evolution” spot, set to the music of Sammy Davis Jr. singing “The Rhythm Of Life”.

  2. I’m intrigued to know where Mrs Little Mudskipper is while Mr Little Mudskipper is spitting globs of mud and taking air to the youngsters?

  3. This is great footage, but are all of those moisty, breathy, mucky, sounds for real or are they dubbed in? My gosh, I just want documentary films and radio stories without the extra sounds and cue-to-smirk music.

    I have always loved mudskippers. So cute.

  4. How has he found a way around every problem? I need his secrets!! Well, maybe a mudskipper’s problems are different from my own. Let’s see:
    “Jumping high above the mud will get you noticed.”
    Nope, that’s sage advice in general. Someone make a motivational poster of it.

  5. The Muddy Mudskipper song:

    Muddy’s show used to be on NBC late-night after Carson in the 1960s, in selected markets.

  6. I was just gonna content myself with the only part of the song that stuck with me all these years:

    “Who’s got segmented eyes?”

  7. What a very disappointing and dismissive intro to this remarkable species. “Hang around for when they start fighting”? Really?? Next time, please hand off any similar assignment to someone who actually cares about the beings in question.

  8. Weird? Creepy? You’ll be making those cute, little, hardworking mudskippers cry :-(

    For me, these animals are fascinating in that they show adaptation to amphibian life in a lineage that is completely independent from the one that led to the tetrapods – evidently exploiting the water-land-air interface is an evolutionary “interesting” experiment!

    Another example of tetrapod-like characteristics in fish: the Brachionichthyidae or “handfishes”.

    1. Thank you. Too bad you weren’t the person writing this post. Looking at the tags he put on this just about makes ME cry: creepy, disgusting, fleshlight, weird …


      1. Seriously? There have been posts today about:
        Bradley Manning’s defense fund being shut down by paypal
        circus sideshow freaks
        the last Discovery Mission,
        the division of wealth in the US
        and people brawling in Denny’s–

        and someone calling a mudskipper creepy makes you want to *cry*?
        I’m not one to usually say this, but perhaps you need to rethink your priorities a bit.

  9. Also: as an ESL reader, I didn’t know what a “custom fleshlight” was. As always, Google generously provided the info – but what it showed me had nothing in common with these animals – so, was that a typo?

    1. Definitely not a typo :P But Dean agrees in not seeing the resemblance.

      Any animal that can suck its eyes into its body is creepy in my book.

  10. personally I find the lil’buggers on the cute side. They are quite interesting creature.

    and as a stray thought… how is it that SyFy hasn’t used them as a monster in one of their Saturday schlock bits?

  11. I see these things and think, if that walking fish isn’t a clear sign that god designed every animal in its current form, I don’t know what is….

  12. But wait! There’s more! This is the fish that CLIMBS TREES! I am not kidding. Mangroves have prop roots that grow out from the trunk and angle downward to the mud. Mudskippers climb those roots and hang out in the lower branches. If you come by in a boat you would hear a splash, without noticing them. I am absolutely NOT making this up.

  13. Stranger than their faces looking like John Travolta in drag in “Hairspray” is the fact that there’s actually a BoingBoinger on here that believes in Intelligent Design.

    1. Actually, if you ask people to define evolution or natural selection or whatever, about half of them describe a sciencey sounding version of intelligent design. People still think that the giraffe evolves a long neck in order to get the leaves at the top of the acacia tree. But then, half of American college students think that your eye sends out a beam in order to see things.

    2. That was sarcasm. I don’t believe in intelligent design. My point was the opposite, that this species is the closest thing to a missing link that creationists are always crying about.

      Even though the concept of a missing link is somewhat stupid and not really how it all works. really this is a species that shows an evelutionary line that could lead to a fish being the anscestor of a land animal.

      I do wonder we would classify such an animal.

  14. @Antinous – hi :) When you “ask people to define evolution or natural selection or whatever” (funny way of putting it – made me smile) you’re going to get an earful of nonsense. Science is fact, not opinion, even though many people editorialize and “feel” a certain way about things. Even scientists skew the info and outcome based on their opinions! But evolution is just evolution, period, and stars aren’t diamonds in the sky – they’re massive balls of fiery hydrogen fusing into helium. Regardless, life is still mysterious and gorgeous. Oh, and I was just surprised originally because BoingBoing is largely left of center.

  15. Huh? No, the opposite, Antinous. Scientific principles ARE definable. Anyways, no more threading for me. Peace out.

  16. “I come from the water.
    I come from the water.
    I come from the water.
    I come.
    The water yeah.”

  17. I have a good friend who’s doing Masters work on Mudskippers and other air-breathing fish, and it’s amazing when she explains to me how much they don’t know about them. She just dissected a mummified specimen yesterday and found a muscles she hadn’t previously known about. Now she gets to figure out the function based on hours of observation footage. I’m not the most science-or-fish-oriented person, but it is really awesome to hear her talk about the whole process. I definitely have a new found respect for the little guys!

    1. I remember being disappointed when I finally found out how small these creatures actually are.

      I think they’d be cooler – and much more formidable – if they were say five or six feet in length…speaking of which, I wonder if earth has ever been home to giant mudskippers in the past?

  18. This video made me inexplicably happy. WHY? I DON’T KNOW! It the fact that blinking involves retracting both of their eyes into their bodies? It is the fact that they waddle around in a jaunty fashion on their little fins in “haters be hatin'” way? Is it because they spit out gobs of mud with a little “patooey!”? It is because eat like little fishy vaccuum cleaners? Who knew that a slimy little fish could be charming?

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