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Author: ABC
Source: ABC
Date: 16 December, 2013

The Pacific leaping blenny fish
UNSW: Courtney Morgans

Scientists have made a bizarre discovery about a fish out of water.

The Pacific leaping blenny, scientifically called the alticus arnoldorum, used to live in the water but now spends its entire adult life on rocks.

Scientists have now discovered the fish was getting ready for the transition to life on the land long before it left water.

University of New South Wales researchers Dr Terry Ord and Courtney Morgans have found the fish developed a camouflage in preparation for moving to land.

“Having a fish out of water, on land is just such an unusual sight to begin with,” Dr Ord told Pacific Beat.

“But we found that they seem to be a little bit more adapted to life on land than perhaps we originally thought.

“It seems that, at least for being camouflaged to avoid being eaten by predators, those marine fish were almost pre-adapted for being camouflaged out on land as well to avoid predation from things like birds.”

Researchers found the fish’s body colour evolved to match the colour of rocky shorelines in the Pacific.

Dr Ord says despite the fact that they don’t live in water, scientifically they do remain fish.

“They almost look like slugs hopping over the rocks and it’s only when you come up more closely that you see that yes, they’re definitely fish,” he said.

“And they happen to be out on the rocks and they’re hopping around, almost like frogs.”

Dr Ord says there’s a lot more to be discovered about the creature.

“We’re quite interested in the fact that you have different but closely related species on many of the islands in the Pacific,” he said.

“But they’re also found in the Indian Ocean.

“So the question we have, if these are land fish and they’re not returning to water, how on earth did they get from the north Pacific down into the south Pacific.”

Read article at the ABC