Archive for November 25th, 2008

November 25, 2008

Caught in the Seine: Striped Blenny

Striped blenny

I thought I might take some time out every few field trips to start taking, logging, and posting photos of some of the juvenile fish and other creatures that inhabit Indian River Lagoon waters.  Since the lagoon is a nursery ground for several dozen fish species (perhaps hundreds in fact) there are many stages of life present in the estuary.  That can make it really hard to identify your catch in some cases.  I happen to love FishBase and also LarvalBase to assist me with identifications, but even those resources aren’t foolproof.  Sometimes you just have to get lucky (or become an expert) to figure out what you’ve caught. 

To start us off, I’ve chosen an adult fish.  Striped blennies are very common in the upper reachers of the lagoon both in Mosquito Lagoon, Banana River, and the main Indian River Lagoon tracts.  (All three waters feed into the overall IRL system.) 

Chasmodes bosquianus usually retreat to deeper water during winter, even in Florida, but are found along most of the coastline of the eastern United States in the summertime.  They’re frequently found on hard bottom, rock reefs, and oyster reefs in much of their range.  Within the IRL one of the best places to find these pugnacious little fish is to pull up abandoned shells of crown conch and tulip snails.  The blennies often make these discards their homes and will defend them – even against a giant human. 

Incidentally, striped blennies make great classroom aquaria fish.  They are alert and interactive fish with a hardy background and can be kept in a range of salinity conditions.  They seem to do best kept within 15 – 25 ppt salinity and feed happily upon a mixed diet of frozen mysids, carnivores flakes and pellets.  They are aggressive with cohorts, so be careful if you intend on mixing various sizes of striped blennies.