Saturday, 3 April 2021

Do Not Mess With Fish 264,

and you thought fish were fun!

well not fun, but certainly a master of disguise, the South American Leaf Fish, (Monocirrhus polyacanth), is a remarkable predator that relies on almost perfect camouflage and patience to both ambush unsuspecting prey, and escape larger predators, native to the Amazon basin in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, photograph Daiju Azuma/Wikimedia Commons, interestingly it was not discovered until 1920s, back when documenting species involved poisoning an entire stream and seeing what came up to the surface. It was only by chance that someone noticed a peculiar leaf with an extended mouth among the other real leaves floating in the water, how times have changed!

with its flat, leaf-shaped body, characteristic dark brown colouring, and the art of mimicking the movement of a dead leaf in the water, the South American leaf fish becomes almost invisible both to its prey (mostly invertebrates and smaller fish) and larger predators,

as aquarium pets, the South American leaf fish are considered very demanding, as they require the water to be kept as close to wild conditions as possible, and, being born predators, they are extremely hard to wean from live food, but it is possible to keep them using frozen shrimps that are available from aquatic stores, but they also react badly to medications, so they are not the easiest of fish to keep, but what fascinating camouflage they truly have. 

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