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Oyster Toad Fish
The oyster toadfish (Opsanus tau) is a fish, which belongs to the family of Batrachoididae. These fishes are also known as ugly toad or the oyster cracker. They most commonly measure 30 cm in length and can grow up to a size of 38 cm. They are yellowish with a pattern of brown oblique bars. They can change their color in order to match with the color of the bottom and have blue eyes. They can live in very bad condition and survive with very less food. They like to live in sandy, rocky and muddy bottoms. They also live on oyster reefs, among eelgrass, hollows or dens. They can be seen throughout the year.
Description : The oyster toadfish is an unusual shaped and large headed fish that lives in oyster reefs and vegetated muddy bottoms. It also occurs in the East coast of North America from the West Indies to Cape Cod. It has scale less skin by thick mucous and warts, thus it makes it easy to understand that why it is called as 'oyster fish'. They have a large head and a tapering body with a plump belly. It has a rounded nose and a very big mouth with blunt teeth. On the gill cover, there are two spines. When they swim, their ventral fins stretch out like a fan, which is located under its throat.
Where do oyster toadfish live?
The oyster toadfish is a bottom- dwelling fish. It is found in abundant quantity in the Cheasapeake Bay year round. During year, they live among rocks, debris, vegetation, oyster reefs and rocky or muddy bottoms. Moreover, in winter they move to the Bays deep channels.
Behavior and Reproduction :
These oyster toadfish are making a grunt sound. The male make the nest in the dark. And after making a nest, the male makes a grunt sound in order to attract a female during spawning season. These sounds can be heard from a long distance in water. The female lay the eggs in rock under submerged wood and sometimes in discarded tin cans. After fertilization, the male guards the nest. The eggs hatch approximately after one month. The male guards the young ones for three to four weeks, until they become big enough to feed by themselves or until they become free swimmer. These oyster toadfish feeds on American oysters, worms, brine shrimp, amphipods, crabs, hermit crabs, squid, mollusks and small fish. The oyster toadfish has strong jaw and teeth to crush its prey. The male and female mature in the second year and can live up to 8 and 5 years respectively.
Oyster Toadfish Facts :
- It makes a grunt sound to attract female.
- The male takes care of the egg till they become capable to swim freely.
- They can adapt themselves to bad living conditions too, like pollution.
- It has low sensitivity to pollution and can live out of water for long period.
- It is very important animal for marine research.
- It is rarely eaten because of its grotesque appearance.