Photo 1. A blunt-snouted clingfish on the pebbly shore at Glavotok on Krk Island (Photo by M. Randić)
On the occasion of World Oceans Day –THE BLUNT-SNOUTED CLINGFISH
Previously, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Rijeka, we had studied the blunt-snouted clingfish on the pebbly shores of the eastern outskirts of Rijeka and the Kostrena peninsula, where the first recorded and documented specimen of this crypto benthic species was found and is now stored in the ichthyological collection of the Natural History Museum of Rijeka. Recently, we came across the blunt-snouted clingfish on the shores of Krk Island, as well as on the Liburnian coast, so it seems that it is not as rare as we once believed.
The blunt-snouted clingfish (Gouania wildenowi) is a small crypto-benthic fish. It tends to hid in the spaces between sea pebbles in the shallow sea. The easiest way to find it is by digging a few centimetres into the pebbles, when its habitat is left “high and dry” during low tides in winter.
Because the blunt-snouted clingfish probably spends most of its time hidden among pebbles in these habitats protected from sunlight, its skin is largely depigmented and covered in mucus and is a pinkish colour, similar to that of the olm. The eyes of this species are small and stunted and its head is flattened.
Using a special sucking disc located on its abdomen, the blunt-snouted clingfish clings firmly to pebbles, an adaptation to life in the intertidal zone where waves can have a strong effect on the living world. That is why only a small number of specialised species, including certain species of clingfish (the family Gobiescoidae), can survive in the zone of pebbly shores affected by the action of waves.