Thanks to specialized breathing abilities, mudskippers can spend a lot of time on land. When under threat, a male will defend his burrow by hopping, gaping and giving his foe the "middle fin."
But for this macho frontiers-fish, it's just too easy.
It can breathe air through its skin and water stored in its gills.
It can swim and hop and even climb trees.
But what this strapping young skipper can't always do is get the girl.
A mudskipper's life revolves around his burrow, the Swiss army knife of residences.
Using his mouth as a shovel, he spits the dirt out.
If he successfully woos a female, she will accompany him to lay her eggs for him to watch over.
But the burrow is not just his baby mama's crib. It's a spa.
He must keep his body continually cool-if he needs to seek out some shade, down the hatch!
It's a castle.
If a predator lurks nearby-down the hatch!
If a rival male approaches, he's not just going to go inside and lock the door.
He warns off the encroacher by giving him the middle fin.
Flip off pal, this is my land.
If dorsal fin dominance doesn't scare him off, they will engage in a contest of gaping to show who's boss.
Victory is his!
Time for a re-breather.
Down the hatch!
And if he's smart, he'll stay there for a while...lest he end up like his rival. Down the hatch.