Looks Can Be Deceiving

I found this juvenile Gafftopsail Catfish (Bagre marinus) while walking my beach last month (somehow I neglected to talk about this little guy earlier).

Just under 5″ long, this saltwater cat had recently left dad’s protection. Males of this species not only keep the eggs in their mouths while they incubate but even the fingerlings. Afterward they stay under his guardianship until 4-5″ long.

Though this small fish looked harmless I resisted the urge to pick it up with my bare hands. Instead, I carefully used my shoe to flip it back into the surf. Good thing too, since this species packs venomous spines in its fins.

Categories: Nature Notes

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