The Loh Down On Science

The acrobatics of puddle jumping will impress you!

Image courtesy of Benjamin Perlman & Sandy Kawano

After being touched with a stick (right) the mangrove rivulus (left) springs away.

Do you ever feel like a fish out of water?  Go bar hopping!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science,

Saying, sandbar hopping, that is.

Meet the mangrove killifish.  This three-inch finner frequents coasts from Florida to Brazil.  At low tide, it often gets stuck on land.  But here’s the kicker.  It can survive for, like, two months out of the ocean.  How?

Benjamin Perlman from Wake Forest University knows.  He video recorded stranded killifish.  They didn’t just flop around like … well, you know!  They flipped like gymnasts!  Pictured in super slow-mo, it goes like this.  The fishy peels its head and body off the ground into a slippery sit-up.  But then it keeps curling—into a tight C shape.  Now, balanced solely on a severely bent tail, it flicks that tail.  Boing!  It catapults itself many body lengths at a time.  Think: pogo … fish-stick!  In this way, it hunts bugs.  Rests in watering holes.  And eventually hops back into the sea.

Armed with the greatest fish story ever told!  Or one of 'em, anyway.

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, with 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

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