Atlantic mudskipper

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Atlantic mudskipper
Periophthalmus barbatus from Gambia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Superclass: Osteichthyes
Class: Actinopterygii
Superorder: Acanthopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Suborder: Gobioidei
Family: Gobiidae
Subfamily: Oxudercinae
Genus: Periophthalmus
Species: P. barbarus
Binomial name
Periophthalmus barbarus
(Linnaeus, 1766)
  • Gobius barbarus Linnaeus, 1766
  • Gobius koelreuteri Pallas, 1770
  • Periophtalmus koelreuteri (Pallas, 1770)
  • Periophthalmus koelreuteri (Pallas, 1770)
  • Periophthalmus papilio Bloch & Schneider, 1801
  • Periophthalmus koelreuteri papilio Bloch & Schneider, 1801
  • Periophthalmus gabonicus Duméril, 1861
  • Periophthalmus erythronemus Guichenot, 1858

The Atlantic mudskipper (Periophthalmus barbarus) is a species of mudskipper native to fresh, marine and brackish waters of the tropical Atlantic coasts of Africa, including most offshore islands, through the Indian Ocean and into the western Pacific Ocean to Guam.[2] This species occurs on the tidal flats of mangrove forests where it readily crosses mud and sand surfaces out of the water, using its pectoral fins to move.


Periophthalmus barbarus is found throughout West Africa, in mangrove swamps and primarily brackish bodies of water near the coast.[1] Countries where the mudskipper are found include Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cameroon.[1]

Usage by humans[edit]

It is important to local indigenous peoples as a food fish and can also be found in the aquarium trade.[1] Fishing has caused population declines in parts of the species' range.[3]


Periophthalmus barbarus is an omnivore.[4] In the wild, mudskippers prefer to eat worms, crickets, flies, meal worms, beetles, small fish, and small crustaceans (sesarmid crabs).[4] Mudskippers kept as pets can eat frozen fare such as bloodworm or artemia and flake. It cannot eat dried food, however, because its stomach would swell up. It is recommended to feed it frozen food for a healthy diet.[5]


Periophthalmus barbarus and mudskippers generally are able to tolerate high concentrations of toxic substances produced by industrial waste, including cyanide, in their environments.[2] They are also able to survive in a variety of environments, including waters with different temperatures and salinity levels.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Bousso, T., Lalèyè, P. & Moelants, T. 2010. Periophthalmus barbarus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. < Archived June 27, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.>. Downloaded on 16 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Emuebie, Okonji Raphael (2011). "Physicochemical Properties of Mudskipper ( Periophthalmus Barbarus Pallas) Liver Rhodanese". Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences. 5 (8): 507–514. 
  3. ^ Etim, Lawrence (June 2002). "Breeding, growth, mortality and yield of the mudskipper Periophthalmus barbarus (Linnaeus 1766) (Teleostei: Gobiidae) in the Imo River estuary, Nigeria". Fisheries Research. 56 (3). 
  4. ^ a b "Periophthalmus barbarus". Retrieved 28 October 2016. 
  5. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Periophthalmus barbarus" in FishBase. June 2013 version.