Today we have a quick little doodlewash of an odd little creature called a mudskipper (suggested by Carol of Carol’s Creative Papers). This uncommon fish is completely amphibious and can use its pectoral fins to walk on land. Unlike other fish, these guys have adapted to survive out of the water during periods of low tide. Despite the appearance of having legs, their fins move at the same time allowing them to hobble about on land with a movement called “crutching” as it looks like the fish is limping around on a pair crutches.

The mudskipper’s frog-like eyes can move independently from one another allowing them to visualize objects above and below the surface of the water at the same time. They prefer to rest on roots or rocks, because spending too much time in the water can actually kill them. These odd creatures can be from 2.75 to 9.75 inches in length (7-25cm) and they are able to jump up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) in the air to get where they need to go. Which is handy when you are stuck with crutches for legs.

The mudskipper is a rather territorial animal and will build low, wall-like ridges to mark the borders of its territory. Being out of the water can often lead to problems with dry eyes, so when they feel the need, they dip a fin into the water and then wipe the dry area with their wet fin. A male mudskipper’s throat and skin will become golden colored during the breeding season. Males will perform push-ups and jump high in the air to show off their dorsal fins to impress the ladies, as female mudskippers are apparently easily impressed. If you know of an uncommon creature to doodlewash next, shout it out in the comments!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

45 replies on “The Mudskipper

    1. Thanks, Laura!! 😃💕So glad you like him…I didn’t add as much mud on top so he could shine through! Hehe As for Opera Rose, I use a little French tube of SENNILIER L’AQUARELLE that Philippe put in my stocking this Christmas saying, “I think we need to start using this color”…so I did! Lol

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I think we watch way too many nature and wildlife programs (I watch anything David Attenborough does; I have a 30 year long intellectual crush on him); I notice that there are very few critters I’ve not heard of or seen.

    You made the mudskipper much more beautiful than it actually is!😀 You’re like the best make-up artist for ugly animals…LOL!❤

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  2. Goodness yes, you’ve made him appear much prettier than certainly Google in its selection of images. I agree with Teresa – you’re a top make-up artist!😛 Wonderful colours… and with those eyes, he looks kinda like a kooky toy you’d take into the bath as a child, alongside the rubber duck. Fascinatingly perplexing, as indeed they all are proving to be so far!

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    1. Animal make-up artist is going on my résumé then this instant! Lol Love that! As I mentioned to Teresa, I just hosed the mud off one with a bit of color (I think this isn’t Japanese mudskipper…there were like 41 kinds to choose from). The result was super funny so instead of another wash of mud brown, I left him freshly showered! Hehe

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  3. This looks just like one of the imaginary creatures in the book I’m reading…the author does say that the ocean has creatures so fantastic they were probably the model for a lot of mythological beasts. Is it really that color purple? Truly amazing! (K)

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    1. Thanks Kerfe! 😃 This one is a Japanese mudskipper…I think…I pulled about 8 references on this one, so I may have inadvertently creating something a touch imaginary, but it’s close to the Japanese kind. There was a purple tint, but more mud brown on top…I didn’t have the heart to cover him in mud so I left most of it off.

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  4. Hi Charlie: I just returned from a girls’ weekend and am delighted to see what you did with the mudskipper, and I am glad you painted him sans mud. I love your color palette in general, and it helped enhance this little critter and made him look spectacular! Glad you found his looks and back story interesting enough to capture in precious pigment 👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

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