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Periophthalmus barbarus  (Linnaeus, 1766)

Atlantic mudskipper
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Periophthalmus barbarus
Picture by Moreau, J.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes (Perch-likes) > Gobiidae (Gobies) > Oxudercinae
Etymology: Periophthalmus: Greek, peri = around + Greek, ophthalmos = eye (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; reef-associated; amphidromous (Ref. 51243).   Tropical; 25°C - 30°C (Ref. 1672); 21°N - 18°S, 18°W - 14°E

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Africa: West-African coast, from Senegal to Angola (Ref. 57403), including most offshore islands - Macias Nguema, São Tomé, and Principe islands (Ref. 10814). Also reported from Mauritania (Ref. 5377). Western Central Pacific: Guam (Ref. 35720). Reports from India (Ref. 29108), Thailand (Ref. 37773), Bangladesh (Ref. 39989), Philippines (Ref. 6956) and Australia (Ref. 38544) need confirmation.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 9.0  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 25.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 57403)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 11 - 15; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10-13; Anal spines: 1; Anal soft rays: 8 - 10. Diagnosis: large adult size, approaching 150 mm SL; head width 15.4-21.8% SL (Ref. 5218). Upper lip covered by a skin fold; anterior nostrils conical and tubular, reaching to level of lower lip; posterior nostrils small, slit-like (Ref. 57403). Snout deep (Ref. 3657). Mouth horizontal (Ref. 3657), large, its gape extending to below center of eye (Ref. 57403). Eyes protruding and close together with lower eyelid fold (Ref. 3657). Predorsal scales extending anteriorly to level of hind margin of eye; upper margin of operculum, preoperculum and suborbital regions, as well as pectoral-fin bases, covered with small, cycloid scales; 86-107 scales in longitudinal series (including usually 3 or 4 scales on caudal fin base) (Ref. 5218, 57403). First dorsal fin high (Ref. 3657), with 10-14 spines (Ref. 57403) that are flexible (Ref. 3657). Second dorsal fin with 1 spine and 10-13 soft rays (Ref. 57403), its base longer than the distance from end to caudal fin origin (Ref. 3657), length of 2nd dorsal fin base 20.9-24. 1 %SL (Ref. 5218). Length of anal fin base 14.1-17.7% SL (Ref. 5218). Pectoral fins with a long muscular lobe (Ref. 3657). Pelvic fins joined by a transverse membrane connecting the bases of the 5th pair of segmented rays (Ref. 57403). Pelvic fin length 14.2-16.0% SL; no frenum uniting pelvic fins (Ref. 5218). Caudal fin asymmetrical, the upper ray longest (Ref. 57403), lower rays shorter and stout (Ref. 3657). TRDB 20-34 (Ref. 5218). Coloration: in life: fish olive-green or rusty-brown dorsally, paler ventrally; small, blue ocelli are scattered over flanks and dorsum, and some oblique, black bands may be present on dorsal part of flanks; 1st dorsal fin is dark on its anterior margin and has a bright blue longitudinal band near its distal margin; 2nd dorsal fin has 2, narrow, bluish-white longitudinal bands on its upper half; caudal fin dark (Ref. 57403). Preserved specimens: dark brown/violet on head, dorsum and flanks; chin pale or mottled gray; ventral body surface pale whitish-yellow; 1st dorsal fin grayish with a black band near distal margin, bordered dorsally and ventrally by a narrow white band; 2nd dorsal fin with a brown margin and a black stripe running along upper portion of fin, this stripe bordered dorsally and ventrally by a narrow white band; anal fin pale or white, sometimes slightly mottled with fine, dark spots; caudal fin dark brown on its dorsal part, whitish on its ventral part; pectoral fins dark on their outer (lateral) surface, with pale distal margins, lighter gray on their inner (medial) surface, particularly ventrally; pelvic fins whitish on ventral surface but dark brown on dorsal surface, with pale/white margins (Ref. 57403).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Occasionally found in freshwater, but always close to the shore (Ref. 57403). Amphibious air-breather (Ref. 31184) that skips or walks on sand or mud in search of food; that is, on exposed intertidal mud flats of estuarine mangrove swamps. Adult feed chiefly on arthropods (crabs, insects, etc.) of the mud surface. Also included in the diet is the white mangrove, Avicennia nitida (Ref. 3026). Spawn in burrows (Ref. 3657).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Probably a multiple spawner (Ref. 58481).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Harrison, I.J., P.J. Miller and F. Pezold, 2003. Gobiidae. p. 625-666 In C. Lévêque, D. Paugy and G.G. Teugels (eds.) Faune des poissons d'eaux douce et saumâtres de l'Afrique de l'Ouest, Tome 2. Coll. Faune et Flore tropicales 40. Musée Royal de l'Afrique Centrale, Tervuren, Belgique, Museum National d'Histoire Naturalle, Paris, France and Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Paris, France. 815 p. (Ref. 57403)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: subsistence fisheries; aquarium: commercial
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Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 25.1 - 28, mean 27.3 (based on 187 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01023 (0.00661 - 0.01583), b=3.02 (2.89 - 3.15), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.2   ±0.42 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.89; Fec=2,100; assuming tm= 2.5 years based on growth curve).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (25 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Very high.