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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Blue-spotted Mudskipper

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3






Order : Perciformes
Species : Boleophthalmus boddarti
Maximum Length : 13 cm +

Mudskippers rank amongst the most fascinating of intertidal life of mangrove and mudflat habitats. The Blue-spotted Mudskipper Boleophthalmus boddarti is amongst the most conspicuous of its kind and, if present, is easily seen at low tide when active on exposed mudflats. At high tide they remain in their burrows, hidden from sight.

The species reaches around 20 cm in total length, and is boldly patterned with diagonal rows of blue spots along the flanks and scattered spots on the cheeks. Dark bands are generally present on the flanks too. The eyes are large and bulging.

In some areas a similar and closely related species, Boleophthalmus pectinirostris ('Great Blue-spotted Mudskipper'), may live alongside this species.

The Blue-spotted Mudskipper is highly territorial, and skirmishes between neighbouring males are frequent. During such confrontations both dorsal fins are raised as a threat. At this time the soft fin spines running through the anterior dorsal fin are easily seen. Males also raise their dorsal fins and leap into the air to attract a female, who is then escorted to the burrow for mating.

Observations suggest these mudskippers feed both on plant material as well as small invertebrates

The Blue-spotted Mudskipper is widely distributed in coastal Southeast Asia and beyond, from India in the west to at least Indochina, Borneo and New Guinea in the east. In parts of Peninsular Malaysia it is locally abundant. The species also occurs in Singapore.

Fig 1 : An adult male Blue-spotted Mudskipper patrols the area around its burrow.

Fig 2 : The elongated spines on this example identify it as a female.

Fig 3 : Sparring pair of males.

All photos from Parit Jawa, Johor, Peninsular Malaysia.

References : F2

Links : The