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1. Rockskippers (Alticus monochrus)



Subject:


Rockskippers, are a unique species of fish that are often found inhabiting rocky shorelines. The Rockskippers in this video are Alticus monochrus, a species that found in the western Indian Ocean including the Comoros, Mozambique, Madagascar, the Seychelles and the Mascarene Islands (La Réunion, Mauritius and Rodrigues) .


These amphibious blennies have adapted to life on land, and are known for their ability to leap from one spot to another. Unlike most fish, which spend the majority of their time in the water, rockskippers spend almost no time submerged. This makes them one of the world's most terrestrial fishes, and has allowed them to survive in environments where other fish cannot.


Rockskippers are primarily found in the supratidal zone, which is the area on the shore that is regularly splashed by ocean water. This environment is rich in benthic algae, which is the primary food source for rockskippers. These fish have adapted to their environment by developing a specialised diet and feeding behaviour.


They use their specialised jaws to scrape algae off rocks, and can consume a variety of different types of algae. This allows them to survive in areas where other fish would struggle to find enough food.


One of the most unique characteristics of rockskippers is their ability to move on land. Unlike most fish, which are adapted for swimming, rockskippers are adapted for jumping and climbing. They use their powerful pectoral fins to propel themselves through the air, and can leap distances of up to several times their body length. They are also able to climb up and down rocky surfaces, which allows them to access different areas of their habitat. This ability to move on land has allowed rockskippers to expand their range and colonise areas that other fish cannot.


Despite their terrestrial adaptations, rockskippers are still dependent on water to survive. They are able to breathe air, but must remain moist in order to prevent their skin from drying out. This means that they need to live in areas where they are regularly splashed by ocean water, and must retreat to damp areas during periods of low tide. They are also vulnerable to predators, and must remain vigilant in order to avoid being eaten by seabirds or other animals. Their careful watch for possible danger can make it difficult for the videographer or photographer to approach them.


In addition to their unique adaptations, rockskippers are also interesting from an evolutionary perspective. They belong to a group of fish called blennies, which are known for their diversity and adaptability. Blennies have evolved a wide range of specialised adaptations, including venomous spines (Meiacanthus grammistes a species of combtooth blenny also known as the striped blenny, striped fang blenny, grammistes blenny, line-spot harptail blenny or striped poison-fang blenny, is venomous), camouflage, and burrowing behaviour.


Rockskippers are just one example of the remarkable diversity of this group of fish, and provide a fascinating case study for scientists interested in the evolution of aquatic life and make good photographic subjects and an interesting video making opportunity for the underwater videographer that wants to film terrestrial marine life.


Rockskippers are a fascinating species of fish that have adapted to life on land. They are able to survive in environments where other fish cannot, thanks to their specialised diet, jumping ability, and ability to breathe air. Despite their terrestrial adaptations, they are still dependent on water to survive, and must live in areas where they are regularly splashed by ocean water. As one of the world's most terrestrial fishes, rockskippers provide a unique case study for scientists interested in the evolution of aquatic life, and continue to captivate the imagination of nature lovers, photographers and videographers around the world.


Technique:

Because the whole scene was filmed in 24FPS (Frames Per Minute), it was almost impossible to create a slow motion section in the clip. We solved this by creating a series of freeze frames of 1 second each connected by cross dissolved transitions of also 1 second each. Thanks to the overlapping falling splashes of water in comparison to the motionless rock the result was quite surprising.


Filming location:

This short underwater videoclip has been filmed in Mauritius 🇲🇺


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