The Mudskipper

Mudskipper Doodlewash - pink fin Japanese fish amphibian watercolor

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


Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Gayle 7 years ago

    Very colorful little critter! Unlike his cousin the frog, he is in no danger of having his legs served up in a restaurant!!!

    • Author

      Thanks Gayle! 😃💕 Hehe…yeah I don’t think anyone would want to eat this guy’s little crutches so I think he’s safe! Maybe…humans seem to eat almost anything though!

  2. Oh, love him Charlie! So sweet and love the colors! I have a Q for you – when you use opera rose, do you use the Daniel Smith version or something else? Love your sweet little creature!

    • Author

      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

  3. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    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! <3

  4. Teri C 7 years ago

    Now that’s an interesting creature. Love the colors.

  5. Jacob 7 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      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

  6. memadtwo 7 years ago

    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)

    • Author

      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.

  7. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    Love the colors! Such interesting info too! 💖😄🎨

    • Author

      Thanks Jill!! 😃💕 As I mentioned to others…I sort of pumped the colors a touch… Hehe… I didn’t want to paint that much mud so I washed him off!! lol

  8. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    What a gem, the mudskipper is remarkable. Thanks for posting Charlie. 😍

  9. Great colour Charlie, a great contrast to mud …..funny little thing he is.

  10. M. L. Kappa 7 years ago

    I actually looked him, I was so curious. Funny little fellow he is!

  11. Tom Merriman 7 years ago

    The mudskipper’s new to me, Charlie. It looks as if it should be more at home with the dinosaurs!

    • Author

      It does doesn’t it?! Hehe… They’re pretty fascinating little creatures. Seem like a mash up of different ones all stuck together!

  12. Tori 7 years ago

    What a funny little fella! Love the combination of colours Charlie.

    • Author

      Thanks Tori!! 😃💕 Glad you liked the colors…it would have been more accurate with a bit more mud on top, but I liked it better like this!

  13. Jodi 7 years ago

    Wouldn’t it be fun to be purple?? 💜

    • Author

      It would!! ❤️😃Hehe…at least I think it would. Might stand out too much at parties which I would hate, though I dislike parties so might not be a problem. Lol

  14. Sorry but that is not real! Either you made it up to see if we were paying attention or it’s something out of a Pixar movie that you found in a cereal packet. You don’t fool me!

    • Author

      Haha! This was a test and you passed! Wait…no actually it’s real… Though I did scrape a little of the mud off!! 😉

  15. kungfunaomi 7 years ago

    This made me laugh! What a funny looking animal!

  16. Cathe 7 years ago

    Oh, my fascinating, weird, wonderful and well so curious! Love your doodlewash Charlie and our introduction to this critter!

  17. kathiwerner 7 years ago

    What a fun creature!

    • Author

      Thanks Kathrin! 😃💕It was so incredibly odd I just had to doodlewash it. Though I did make it a slight bit more colorful than when it’s covered in brown mud. hehe

  18. Kari 7 years ago

    There’s something oddly sexy about them.. Lol. Maybe it’s the slinky body or the majestic purple hue.. The leaping ability is awesome!

    • Author

      Hahaha!! Thanks Kari!! 😃💕That made me laugh out loud. I will never look at a mudskipper in the same way again!! Lol

  19. Carol 7 years ago

    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 👍🏻

    • Author

      Thanks so much for the suggestion Carol!! 😃💕 I never would have thought of trying one of these. Yeah…I just had to wash the mud off and imagine what was underneath! Lol Hope you had an amazing girls’ weekend!! Sounds fun!

  20. ann christina 7 years ago

    Oh, this is really too cute! What an odd little fish. Love it, Charlie! 💕

  21. Susan Feniak 7 years ago

    This one made me stop and take a second look. Amazing.

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