The Frillfin Goby is an ugly little fish, 10-15 centimeters long, that lives in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. You find them in rock pools. See a goby and you’re not likely to give it much thought. It’s not pretty like so many tropical species, nor is it impressive in size, nor is it any good to eat. It’s just an ugly, nondescript little fish swimming in rock pools.
But it is a remarkable creature. When you’re a fish living in a rockpool the biggest danger is birds who see you as a fine meal. Not really many places to run and hide. The goby however has developed an incredible technique to escape. It can fling its 10 centimetre body into a nearby rockpool, and if necessary to another, then another, and on and on.
The reason this is incredible is that the goby is jumping blind. It cannot see the rock pool into which it will leap, yet manages to jump with amazing accuracy.
How does the goby do this? Scientists have discovered that at high tide the goby swims around the rocky areas and makes a mental map of the landscape, noting where the depressions that will form rock pools are. It can do this with just one pass of an area! Then, from memory, it is able to leap from rock pool to rock pool.
The goby has a pea size brain, yet is able to accomplish this stunning feat.
I don’t know about you but the Frillfin Goby fills me with joy and wonder. It’s another reminder of the remarkable world in which we live.