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The Adaptations of the Dwarf Pygmy Goby

Maturing at less than half an inch in length, dwarf pygmy gobies (Pandaka pygmaea) are one of the smallest fish in the world. They were originally thought to live in only one area of the Philippines, but they've recently been discovered in Singapore, Bali, Sulawesi, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. These tiny fish have adapted, through evolution, to be able to survive despite any challenges they face.


Dwarf pygmy gobies are almost transparent, with black markings that form four cross bands. This coloration is useful as a form of camouflage, helping to keep them hidden from predators. The transparency of their bodies means they can blend in with their surroundings easily, their black markings accurately mimicking shadows falling underwater when sunlight hits the surface.


Their diminutive size puts dwarf pygmy gobies on the menu for almost any larger fish, but their relative smallness can also work to their advantage. Being so small means they can dart into tiny cracks and crevices where potential predators can't follow. They also might be overlooked by much larger fish, who are looking for a more substantial dinner.


Pygmy dwarf gobies are mostly found in mangroves and other brackish waters with muddy bottoms and plenty of aquatic plants. They've adapted to living in these kind of environments as they provide these fish with some much needed cover. The more places they have to hide, the less likely it is for them to meet an untimely end from predators.


Dwarf pygmy gobies are too small to be predatory fish; they've adapted to eat a diet that is always plentiful. Dwarf pygmy gobies are plankton eaters. Plankton is extremely abundant, which means they never run short on food. While having a varied diet can sometimes be a benefit to a species, having a specialized diet that rarely, if ever, runs out is equally advantageous.