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Benny the Blenny's Blog

Nosy fish – keeping watch. The eyes have it!


I'm keeping watch for predators and intruders. You can see from this video that I have unusual eyes and can look in different directions at the same time.

I've spotted something interesting. I'm off!
 

Explore life beneath the waves around Britain with Benny the Blenny

 

Benny the Blenny's Blog

Benny the Blenny's Blog

Danger! Lurking cuttlefish

Talking of marauding predators, I watched this cuttlefish cautiously from the safety of my crevice home. It grabbed a small fish with its long tentacles and I wondered who had been the unlucky victim. Before the cuttlefish jetted away, I saw a sea scorpion's tail sticking out from its tentacles. That fish's camouflage hadn't deceived the superb vision of the cuttlefish this time, with fatal consequences! Sad to see I guess, but cuttlefish have to eat and better a sea scorpion than a tompot blenny, especially as sea scorpions can eat young tompot blennies too.

Watch this vimeo video vimeo.com
to see how the cuttlefish caught the sea scorpion.

Benny the Blenny's Blog

"Mini me" tompot blennies out and about on my reef!


Since the baby tompot blennies have settled out of the plankton, three noticeable things have happened. First, they have taken on camouflage colours and now match up with their background quite well. Next, they have a bright blue 'eye' spot on the front of their dorsal fin which they can flick up; does it make them look bigger and scare away other fish? Lastly, their head tentacles are developing well and they look like 'mini me' tompots as they explore my reef.

They are only 20 - 45mm long at this time of the year (depending on whether they hatched from their eggs early or late in the summer) but they are just large enough to be spotted and photographed by Paul and Teresa. What always surprises them is how these youngsters are very bold and like to show off in front of the camera! Wouldn't you expect little fish like these to be much more timid and hide in the small crevices away from marauding predators?

Take a look at my blog from last year 30th September 2015 www.bennytheblenny.com to see a video of two very small tompot blennies play fighting.

Benny the Blenny's Blog

Benny the Blenny's babies (juvenile fish) 2cm long are settling back on the reef

You've seen how my amazing my babies were swimming around in the plankton. The ones that managed to avoid being eaten and found enough plankton to eat have grown to around 2 cm long and have now settled back on the reef. The researchers are not sure how they find a good home reef. It may just be luck or something to do with them being able to recognise the smell of the area they hatched from. Some coral reef fish know which reef is home from the sound the waves make!

When my babies first settle they are quite colourless, but soon take on camouflage colours to help them match their surroundings. You can see that their head tentacles have started growing and their pectoral fins are just visible with some black pigment.

Thank you to the National Marine Aquarium Plymouth for their help in getting this photo. The NMA is an excellent place to see tompot blennies like Benny the Blenny and lots of other UK marine life.

Benny the Blenny's Blog

Benny the Blenny's babies (juvenile fish) 2cm long are settling back on the reef

You've seen how my amazing my babies were swimming around in the plankton. The ones that managed to avoid being eaten and found enough plankton to eat have grown to around 2 cm long and have now settled back on the reef. The researchers are not sure how they find a good home reef. It may just be luck or something to do with them being able to recognise the smell of the area they hatched from. Some coral reef fish know which reef is home from the sound the waves make!

When my babies first settle they are quite colourless, but soon take on camouflage colours to help them match their surroundings. You can see that their head tentacles have started growing and their pectoral fins are just visible with some black pigment.

Thank you to the National Marine Aquarium Plymouth for their help in getting this photo. The NMA is an excellent place to see tompot blennies like Benny the Blenny and lots of other UK marine life.

Benny the Blenny's Blog

Is it a bird or a fish? It's a baby tompot blenny, just like Benny the Blenny's babies, swimming in the plankton.

This video shows tompot blenny larvae like my babies swimming around in the plankton. These ones are around 15mm long and Teresa thinks they look like baby birds because they are flapping their pectoral fins to keep themselves swimming up in the water. They power themselves forwards using their tails too. When my babies first hatched as larvae they had a yolk sac which helped them stay up but that has now all been used up so they flap instead. If you look closely at the video you will see, just under the babies' bellies, that there are two blackish lines. These are their pelvic fins (equivalent to your legs) that have started to develop. My youngsters at this stage are not showing any signs of growing head tentacles, but these will develop by the time they settle on the seabed as little tompot blennies around 20 mm long in a few weeks time.

Thank you to the National Marine Aquarium Plymouth for their help in getting this video; it is an excellent place to see tompot blennies like Benny the Blenny and lots of other marine life in action.

vimeo.com


For wonderful line drawings and descriptions of tompot blenny larvae, see this paper:
Fives, Julie. M. 1986 Blenniidae of the Northern Atlantic (revised) Fich. Ident. Plancton (172:6pp)