Sunday, May 13, 2007
Striped eeltail catfish (Plotosus lineatus)
The juvenile catfish form a virtual ball that swarms over the reef flat as they wander around seeking both food (probably small crustaceans) and shelter. There doesn't appear to be any 'leader' of the pack but they always move about cohesively and defy any attempt to split the group up.
Don't try to touch the catfish though, even if they are mere inch-long fry. They possess venomous glands in the pectoral and dorsal fin spines that can cause very painful wounds. However, they won't attack or sting unless one is silly enough to handle them.
Plotosus lineatus is probably the only catfish species to be found in coral reefs. It's a wideranging species, found all over the Indo Pacific and Indian Oceans.