Large Eye Toadfish (Batrachoides gilbert)
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Friday January 17, 2020

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Large Eye Toadfish (Batrachoides gilbert)

A very rare Large Eye Toadfish (Batrachoides gilbert) was hiding in a hole under the coral. I thought Toadfish were found only on Turneffe, but I was proved wrong. This was taken at the Chute dive site, Sergeant's Caye, Belize Barrier Reef.

Toadfishes (and frogfishes) are a family of omnivorous, ambush predators that can be found living on the ocean floor in shallow, coastal waters and the deep sea around the world! Many species in this family are known to be able to survive out of the water for up to 24 hours and even “walk” across mudflats using their fins; 12 toadfish species are known to have hollow venomous spines in their dorsal fin and gill covers, and 14 species (the midshipman fishes (Genus - Porichthys)) have photophores (special light emitting organs) along 4 lateral lines that run the length of their bodies!

Toadfishes make up approximately 13% of a dolphin’s diet in areas where their ranges overlap. This is probably because toadfishes are a fish species that is able to produce a ‘mating call’ using their swim bladders (the organ that helps with buoyancy) which allows dolphins to easily locate and catch them! This is backed up by toadfishes reducing their mating calls by up to 50% when hearing the tell-tale sounds of a dolphin’s ‘pop’ – a noise exclusively associated with dolphin hunting behaviour!

Photograph by Gordon Kirkwood

Rolling Toad Fish

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