Close your eyes and imagine a world where fish just walk themselves right out of the water and start living on land because they feel like it. Now open your eyes and stop imagining, because it’s really happening.
Published in the journal The American Naturalist, researchers detail the odd behavior of Pacific leaping blennies, which are a type of small fish that appear to be keen on finding their way out of their natural habitat in the water.
The reason for the odd behavior? Apparently because it helps them dodge predators.
According to the study, which involved placing around 250 plastic pseudo-blennies both on land and in water, it was found that blennies are as much as three times more likely to get eaten by predators when they’re swimming around in the water than when they are basking on land.
The fact that their survival rates are much higher on land than in the water might be a cause enough for the fish to push past their watery boundary and try to co-exist with the rest of the world here on dry land.
“Our study of blennies on Rarotonga is the first to examine the pressures driving fish out of the water,” says study lead author Terry Ord from the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, Australia. “It turns out the aquatic environment is a nasty place for blennies, full of enemies wanting to eat these small fish. But life is less hostile on the rocks, with birds their main worry.”
In the water, blennies have to deal with larger fish that find them to be easy targets, but when they’re on land, the only thing they have to worry about are birds, which typically leave them alone unless they’re just too hungry to resist.
Are blennies actually in the middle of an evolutionary change to help them survive against the highly-predacious waters? Scientists think it may be possible; after all, natural selection always takes its course.
At this point in time, blennies don’t have any legs. So even though they’re not actually land creatures, they’re sure finding their way around land pretty well despite only having fins made for pushing their way through water.
It should be intersting to see if this kind of behavior will be observed in any other fish species that take notice.
Source: Science Alert