Saturday, October 10, 2009

Goodbye hilarious little mandarin fish

I want to introduce you to another animal that I will most definitely miss when I leave my aquarium job in a few days to become a full time mother. For years and years these little guys have been on the top of my favorite list. This is a male mandarin fish, Synchiropus splendidus, and he's splendid indeed! This is one hilarious fish. Once he sees you lurking outside his tank he will follow your finger all over the glass if you put it out for him to follow.

When he's showing off he'll lift that amazingly colored dorsal fin as tall as it can get as if to say, "this is MY territory!" It's believed that the colors are there as a warning, as these fish give off a foul-tasting mucus if you attempt to eat them. Not that I would, they are way too much fun and far too beautiful.


We keep this species for two reasons. First, they're simply just a pretty little fish and the public loves them. And second, they love to eat flatworms which can plague salt water reef aquaria.

I will really miss them during my morning check-ins when I make sure all the animals are OK, their life support is running, and there's no major floods anywhere. This particular individual is always hanging out right in front of the glass and always lets me "play" with him for a few minutes while I'm scrubbing the nose, hand and face prints off the windows from the previous day's visitors.


While playing around with my camera a few years back I attempted to capture them. It's tough. They rarely sit still long enough.

But I did get these photos and if you play around with i photo some of the colors really turn into art. These are close-ups of that amazing dorsal fin. The first one is just a crop of the real thing. Nature sure is the best artist.

This one was altered by iphoto, even more amazing when you boost the colors!

10 comments:

  1. Wow, beautiful. Amazing colors. Love your decriptions and taking the time to play with these fish. How sweet and fun.

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  2. You are so right! Every creature is nature's masterpiece of art, and nobody can imitate it. I like the way you enhanced the fins it's colors are very flashy...beautiful.

    AL

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  3. I read you comment on my blog. Yep I did just this morning, I went to the dike and checked if the lake have subsided. I freed the turtle, I have to let it go because it doesn't want to eat anything, it might die.

    AL

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  4. Yes, he is a wonderful fish. Thanks for showing us.

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  5. Yes, Kate, you are definitely an artist and see the world with the artist's eye. Becoming a full-time mom will only benefit all of us, as you will turn her (him? them?) into artists as well. Thanks for sharing this story, as I didn't realize fish could be so, well, social...

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  6. Hey. I dig these little dudes. What a cool fish. Best of luck to you with Mommyhood and your new career as a full time mom.

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  7. Glad you all enjoyed meeting a mandarin fish!

    @AL: glad to hear you let the little guy go, I'm sure he's very happy to be back in the wild.

    Hopefully not spending three days at work every week will leave more time for blogging. After I'm done chasing my precocious child of course!

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  8. Awesome colors, what a beautiful fish. I can see how you would get attached to these beautiful creatures and their personalities.

    You may have posted this before and I've forgotten but what is the biggest fish/mammal the aquarium houses?

    Judy

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  9. Amazing. How does such a thing evolve?

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  10. SQ: I get completely attached to these animals, that's why I don't name them, they become like pets and it's hard when they die or simply disappear one day into the reef. The biggest animal in the Aquarium would either be one of our sand tiger sharks, the nurse shark or the largest fur seal. Not sure, they're all pretty big and friendly.

    Squirrel: I know, I studied evolution extensively in college and it still amazes me. I'm glad it did evolve though :)

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