(mudskippers), a family of fishes of the order Perciformes. The cylindrical body reaches 27 cm in length. The head is large, and the bulging eyes are very mobile and adapted for vision in water and on land.
Mudskippers inhabit coastal tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans and freshwater areas. They prefer the muddy bottoms of mangrove forests, climbing on the exposed roots with amazing agility. The large, muscular pectoral fins and the tail are used for locomotion on land and in trees. The fishes can move by crawling and by jumping. Their abdominal sucker enables them to hold onto nearly vertical trunks, branches, and roots. Mudskippers feed on small crustaceans, worms, and insects. They deposit their roe in specially dug burrows. Owing to their special gill apparatus, they are capable of remaining on dry land at low tide for several hours. There are three genera, embracing ten (or 12) species. The best-studied representative is Periophthalmus koelreuteri.