Friday 19 February 2016

Kelpfish, Gibbonsia

Image: Chad King
Gibbonsia? Land of the Gibbons?

Is that anywhere near Chimpan Zeeland or Orangistan?

Image: Deenie
Spotted Kelpfish (Gibbonsia elegans)
Actually, it turns out Gibbonsia is found in a long strip from Alaska all the way down to Mexico. And it's in the water. And they're fish, so the mermonkey dream is over.


Image: Jesse Rorabaugh
Striped Kelpfish (Gibbonsia metzi)
The four species within the genus Gibbonsia is one of at least three kinds of fish known as Kelpfish. They're called that because they live among the frequently massive fronds of kelp seaweed.

Kelpfish can also hide away easily because they're quite small. The biggest one is the Striped Kelpfish which reaches up to 24 cm (10 in) long. The Crevice Kelpfish is about half that and the others fall somewhere in between.

Image: Jerry Kirkhart
Crevice Kelpfish (Gobbonsia montereyensis)
As you can probably gather, Kelpfish tend to be pretty good at the ol' camouflage. Many are swathed in drab browns and greys that let them hide among the kelp's greenish brown vegetation as they flit about in search of tiny crustaceans, snails and worms.

Others... others appear to think they're way too fabulous to melt into the background.

Image: NOAA Photo Library
Crevice Kelpfish (Gibbonsia montereyensis)
But hey, what do I know? I'm no mermonkey.


There IS such a thing as vibrantly pink seaweed. Maybe strutting around like an emerald or a streak of lipstick can work really well as camouflage? You'd think a bright pink fish would be a little more careful about where it hangs out, though.