Sapphirine Gurnard

October 25th, 2014 No comments

Sapphirine Gurnard

Sapphirine Gurnard (Chelidonicthys lucernus)

480px Helidonichthys spinosus Sapphirine Gurnard saltwater fish

The comical-looking gurnard is a member of a family of hardheaded walking fish. Bony plates and hard spines cover its large head. Part of the gurnard’s pectoral fins (the pair of fins beneath its belly) are fashioned into three pairs of fingerlike legs. Standing on “tiptoe,” the gurnard scuttles across the ocean bed, looking for slow-moving prey. Its unique legs are very sensitive. With them the fish can taste and smell, as well as touch. The gurnard is often seen delicately probing the gravel and mud for food. Among its favorite prey are pink and brown shrimp, soft-shelled crabs, and mollusks such as scallops and cockles.

Gurnard in Wikipedia:

Gurnard get their name from their large pectoral fins, which, when swimming, open and close like a bird’s wings in flight.
They are bottom dwelling fish, living at depths of up to 200 m (660 ft). Most species are around 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16 in) in length. They have an unusually solid skull, and many species also possess armored plates on the body. Another distinctive feature is the presence of a “drumming muscle” that makes sounds by beating against the swim bladder. When caught, they make a croaking noise similar to a frog, which has given them the onomatopoeic name gurnard.

The sapphirine gurnard—the largest gurnard in the Mediterranean Sea—is named for the brilliant color of its pectoral fins. Like sapphire gems, the fins range in color from pinkish violet to peacock blue. As the fish grows older, its blue fins become spotted with white or green dots. The beautiful colors are evident only when the sapphirine spreads its fins.

This fish is very tasty and can be caught with a hook and long line, or scooped from the ocean bottom with a heavy net called a trawl. Most gurnard are harvested from the continental shelf, which is where the ocean bottom slopes down from the beach to deep water. In late summer, many young gurnard are born in shallow bays and estuaries. They swim to deeper waters by their first winter.

Scientific classification:class: Bony fishes

order Mail-cheeked fishes

family: Sea robins

length: up to 30 inches

weight: up to 13 pounds

diet: small fish, shrimp, crabs, mollusks, and worms

method of reproduction: egg layer

home: eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea


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October 24th, 2014 No comments



Leuresthes tenuis

Grunions are best known for their unusual spawning behavior. These fish spawn, or produce eggs, in the moonlight on spring and summer nights when tides are exceptionally high. Soon after the highest wave of the night, the grunions let a smaller wave carry them onto a sandy beach. Thousands of grunions may come ashore at one time.

The female grunion quickly burrows tailfirst into the wet sand. When the back half of her body is buried, she lays 1,000 to 3,000 tiny pink eggs. The male wraps his body around the upper, exposed part of the female and releases sperm, which seeps down through the sand to fertilize the eggs. The fish then wiggle back to the water and are carried out to sea by the next wave. The entire process takes less than a minute. The eggs remain buried in the sand until 15 days later, when the tides are again exceptionally high. The high waves wash the eggs out of the sand. Within minutes the eggs hatch, and the young grunions are carried out to sea. Grunions are about 1/4 inch long at birth. They grow quickly, reaching about 5 inches when they are a year old. By then they are ready to return to the sandy beach to lay eggs of their own. If grunions are not caught by people or killed by marine predators or disease, they live for about three to four years. People are allowed to catch spawning grunion by hand at certain times of the year.

class: Bony fishes

order: Silversides, flying fishes, and toothed carps

family: Silversides

length: 5 to 7 1/2 inches

diet: small invertebrates

method of reproduction: egg layer

home: coastal waters off California and Baja California


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Categories: Freshwater Fish Tags: ,