Si Pilemon (Visayan Folk Song)

Si Pilemon, si Pilemon namasol sa kadagatan.

Nakakuha, nakakuha og isdang tambasakan.

Gibaligya, gibaligya sa merkadong guba—

Ang halin pulos kura, ang halin pulos kura,

Igo lang ipanuba.

(Felimon, Felimon went to sea to catch some fish

He was able to get, to get only a small mudskipper.

He sold it, sold it at a dilapidated market

For it he got nothing much, nothing much

Just enough to buy tuba.)

 This popular Visayan Folk Song mentions an amphibious fish commonly seen on tidal MudFlats during low tide, the Tambasakan or Mudskipper.

Mudskippers are oxudercine gobies of the Subfamily Oxudercinae. They are found along the West African and Indo-pacific coasts where they inhabit the coastal mudflats, mangrove swamps and riverbanks. 

This peculiar-looking fish is well adapted to survive in and out of the water. They have elongated, torpedo-like bodies and dorsally protruding eyes. Their pectoral fins have evolved to function like limbs, allowing them to climb, walk or skip out of the water on muddy wetlands. They also use these to grab onto mangrove roots and rocks. 

Like other species of GobyFish, mudskippers burrow and are Benthic or bottom dwellers. Interestingly, mudskippers have multiple modes of breathing. They respire through their skin and the mucosal lining of their mouth and throat. Unlike other fish living in intertidal regions that hide when the tide retreats, mudskippers can survive even when exposed without water. They have enlarged gill chambers which allow them to retain bubbles of air, thereby helping them breathe whenever they are on land. 

Mudskippers are bio-indicators. Their presence and abundance on the land and in coastal water ecosystems such as mangrove areas and mudflats could be used as a basis for the habitat health and biodiversity of the area. Pollutants brought about by urban area expansion and degradation of the coastal ecosystems significantly affect their population. Their very high potential for bioaccumulation of different types of pollutants makes them an important species for the biomonitoring of the coastal ecosystem as well as in conducting studies on aquatic Ecotoxicology.

Pinagmulan: @natmuseumbohol | Music by late Boholano artist, Yoyoy Villame

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