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Blenny & Goby

Group 8: Small, Elongated Bottom Dwellers

Blenny & Goby

Group 8 - Small, elongated bottom dwellers : The small bottom dwelling fish often make up the most interesting fish to watch during your dive. Their approachable nature and interesting behaviors make them great fishwatching finds. Blennies tend to be slightly larger than gobies, but are most easily recognized by their curved body posture and expressive faces. Gobies, though similar in their habitat requirements, tend to sit flat and straight on the bottom. The jawfishes actually live in a burrow in the sand that they excavate and maintain.

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FUN Facts

5 Fun Facts - Blennies & Gobies

Blenny is a common name for many types of fish, including several families of marine, brackish, and some freshwater fish sharing similar morphology and behaviour. Six families are considered "true blennies", grouped under the order Blenniiformes; its members are referred to as blenniiformids. About 151 genera and nearly 900 species have been described within the order. The blenniiformids are superficially quite similar to members of the goby and dragonet families, as well as several other unrelated families whose members have occasionally been given the name "blenny".

Goby is a common name for many species of small to medium sized ray-finned fish, normally with large heads and tapered bodies, which are found in marine, brackish and freshwater environments. Gobies are members of the Gobiidae family, which is a species defined by their spiny pelvic fins that are fused together to work as a ventral sucking disk. This trait allows gobies to adhere to terrain or objects in situations of heavy currents (sometimes even climbing up waterfalls). There are over 2,000 varying species of goby, examples include clown, cleaner, watchman, sand sifting, etc. Gobies vary from 25-75 mm, come in an array of camouflaging hues such as blacks, browns, yellows, oranges, greens. Another characteristic unique to goby is its vertical markings.  

Mimicry: Many blennies demonstrate mimicry of other species, such as Aspidontus taeniatus. This mimicry allows the blenny to get up close to fish that would normally let Labroides dimidiatus (the bluestreak cleaner wrasse), clean them. The blenny then takes nips or larger bites out of the unsuspecting fish.

Masters of Camouflage: Blennies are the chameleons of the sea. These small, elongated fish are experts in blending into their surroundings. Some species, like the Redlip Blenny, are known to mimic the appearance of coral or sponge, making them practically invisible to predators. But their camouflage isn't just about survival – male blennies also use it to attract mates by showing off their vibrant colors in hidden nooks and crannies.

Battle of the Blennies: Blennies have a unique way of resolving conflicts – they engage in "jaw locking" battles. When two males vie for territory or a mate, they lock jaws and engage in a pushing match. What makes this showdown even more extraordinary is that the blennies often end up with their mouths wide open, showcasing an array of impressive teeth. It's a peculiar spectacle in the underwater arena that's both amusing and a testament to the resourcefulness of these little fighters.

Skilled Architects: Gobies are the construction workers of the underwater world. These fish, often diminutive in size, are renowned for their fascinating habit of building homes out of sand and debris. The Jawfish Goby, for instance, digs intricate burrows in the ocean floor where it seeks refuge and raises its young. Gobies are not only skilled architects but also committed parents, fiercely guarding their homes against potential threats.

Goby Gossip: Gobies communicate in a rather unconventional way – they click! These fish produce clicking sounds by grinding their teeth together. This behavior serves various purposes, from signaling territory boundaries to attracting mates. Some gobies even synchronize their clicks with their neighbors, creating an underwater symphony that's both mysterious and captivating.

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