One of the many delights of working with Sewanee’s students is the biodiversity that they bring to my desktop. Sometimes, these species arrive on my actual desktop (snails, leaves, dead coots, live hummingbirds, and so forth…), but species also arrive via the glow of the screen. Here is one such arrival. I’m posting it for no other reason than the smile it brought to my face. Thank you, Dr. Bert Harris (Sewanee class of 2006 — a great vintage), for sharing this after a recent research trip to Sumatra. Without further ado, the blue-spotted mudskipper:
These air-breathing fish live in the mud flats of Asia. Males come out of their burrows to joust each other and to perform leaping dances for females. You can read more about their biology here and here.
What these websites will not explain is why they make me slightly nervous: I get the sense that they are ready to step in and take over when the current gaggle of tetrapods finally gives up the ghost. Give these mud-skippers three hundred million years and they’ll be strutting around with sapiens after their names. So this New Year, let’s look sharp and keep focused. We have competition.
Addendum: Thank you to Karen C. Rio for pointing me to this video of the mudskippers in action :)