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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Gobiidae > mudskippers
Bearded mudskipper
Scartelaos histophorus

Family Gobiidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This long mudskipper is often seen at Pasir Ris and Chek Jawa. Its preferred habitat is soft liquid mud where it often squirms rapidly in a snake-like manner. According to FishBase it is intertidal and found on sand and mud flats along bay shores. Also in estuarine areas, swamps, marshy areas and on tidal mud flats. It actively shuttles back and forth between rock pools and air.

Features: To about 14cm long, those seen about 7-10cm. Scales are tiny and partly embedded and thus not visible with the naked eye. The skin on the top of the head and on the back is full of blood vessels allowing the fish to respire through the skin. The first dorsal fin is tall and mast-like and it is used to display when the fish is creeping about on the ground.

This mudskipper is sometimes seen leaping 'on the spot', hurling itself almost vertically and for a brief moment, standing on its tail! This is believed to be part of the courtship ritual of the male mudskipper! As it leaps, it spreads out its pectoral fins, and the second portion of its dorsal fin. The tall, mast-like first dorsal fin is not raised when leaping.

What does it eat? It eats tiny bottom dwelling creatures such as diatoms, ostracods, copepods and worms.

Tall mast-like dorsal fin not raised when leaping.
Chek Jawa, Jan 10

Leaping next to a smaller fish.
Chek Jawa, Dec 09

Chek Jawa, Dec 09

Tall mast-like dorsal fin raised when creeping.

A pair emerging from a narrow burrow that opens into a pool.
Chek Jawa, Mar 11

Bearded mudskippers on Singapore shores

Photos of Bearded mudskippers for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Pasir Ris, Dec 08

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pasir Ris, Mar 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

  • Larson, Helen K and Kelvin K. P. Lim. 2005. A Guide to Gobies of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 164pp.
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