The Inter-tidal Mudskippers of Kuwait

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There are often quiet times in between coastal birding, especially during low-tide when the sea appears to fade away in the shimmering distance.

However, if you look more closely on the mud flats during low tide, you will find some interesting species and for this post these are inter-tidal ; a fascinating species in their own right that are adapted for terrestrial environments and an amphibious life that is almost unrivaled.

In , we have 3 species of inter-tidal Mudskippers and in this year I have been fortunate to find and photograph all 3. These are amphibious air-breathers that livepredominantly on inter-tidal mud flatsand prove that fish can indeed walk.

The most common and largest isBoleophthalmus dussumieri. ‘Boleophthalmus’depicts the capability of these fishs to rapidly raise their eyes above the level of their orbits, as if they were ejected out of their orbits

Boleophthalmus dussumieri_4383

Boleophthalmus dussumieri_4343

Boleophthalmus dussumieri_4358

Boleophthalmus dussumieri_4381

Periophthalmus waltoni (Walton’s Mudskipper) is smaller, but found together with dussumieri. I found that males in all species can be quite territorial and aggressive when defending their hole. ‘Periophthalmus’ refers to the wide visual field of these species

Periophthalmus waltoni_4371

Periophthalmus waltoni_4350

Periophthalmus waltoni_4354

Periophthalmus waltoni_4367

The last and one that took me the longest to find isScartelaos tenuis (Slender Mudskipper); ‘Scartelaos’ probably refers tothe typical tail-stand of males during courtship.

Scartelaos tenuis

Scartelaos tenuis_BoubIsl_7545

Scartelaos tenuis_BoubIsl_7551

Scartelaos tenuis_BoubIsl_7555

If you would like to learn more about this fascinating family, you can find all the information you need on http://www.mudskipper.it/index.html

Michael Pope

Michael Pope

A South African ex-pat who currently resides in Kuwait with his family since October 2006 and maintains a full time job as an IT Project Manager delivering and implementing projects in Kuwait and the GCC. An avid naturalist with an interest in wildlife and conservation that started early in his schooling when he was selected to spend a week in Londolozi Game Reserve learning about Conservation and Game Ranger principals. That week had a profound impact, the seed was sown and a passion for birds, photography, wildlife, biodiversity and conservation was instilled. He has travelled and explored the length and breadth of South and Southern Africa in search of birds, Aside from birds, he photographs landscapes, mammals, reptiles and just about any living creature he can get in front of his lens. Since arriving in Kuwait has also explored many other countries expanding his list and knowledge. In Kuwait his passion for birding, photography and highlighting the need for conservation and protection of migratory birds has continued and this is showcased on his Kuwait Birding Blog http://kuwaitbirding.blogspot.com/) . In early 2008 he was proposed as and still is Chairman of Kuwait Ornithological Records Committee. However, a personal achievement of his birding tenure in Kuwait is Co-editor for the milestone publication of “Birds of Kuwait – A Comprehensive Visual Guide” in collaboration with BioDiversity East and KUFPEC.

Michael Pope

Michael Pope

A South African ex-pat who currently resides in Kuwait with his family since October 2006 and maintains a full time job as an IT Project Manager delivering and implementing projects in Kuwait and the GCC. An avid naturalist with an interest in wildlife and conservation that started early in his schooling when he was selected to spend a week in Londolozi Game Reserve learning about Conservation and Game Ranger principals. That week had a profound impact, the seed was sown and a passion for birds, photography, wildlife, biodiversity and conservation was instilled. He has travelled and explored the length and breadth of South and Southern Africa in search of birds, Aside from birds, he photographs landscapes, mammals, reptiles and just about any living creature he can get in front of his lens. Since arriving in Kuwait has also explored many other countries expanding his list and knowledge. In Kuwait his passion for birding, photography and highlighting the need for conservation and protection of migratory birds has continued and this is showcased on his Kuwait Birding Blog http://kuwaitbirding.blogspot.com/) . In early 2008 he was proposed as and still is Chairman of Kuwait Ornithological Records Committee. However, a personal achievement of his birding tenure in Kuwait is Co-editor for the milestone publication of “Birds of Kuwait – A Comprehensive Visual Guide” in collaboration with BioDiversity East and KUFPEC.

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Andrew Rao
Andrew Rao

Fascinating

Gianluca Polgar

amazing shots. Mike I lost your email address: I wished to inform you that I uploaded some of your mudskipper photos to a scientific website on gobies, currently under construction (http://gobiidae.tamucc.edu/). Pls email me if you wish to have more information.