Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Creature Feature: Violet/Dragon Goby.

So, I was at Wal-Mart the other day. No, I do not shop there regularly. It just happens to have my allergy pills cheaper than anywhere else. Regardless of why I was there, I wandered over to the aquarium section and saw this:

You can't even tell him apart from the stone Chinese dragon.

The card called it a dragonfish. My first thought was "No, that can't be an arowana. Or oarfish." It looked creepy and eel-like, like an undead Chinese dragon or baby frilled shark.

Then I looked it up. There are not only five or so different fish colloquially called "dragonfish," but this one was a goby. To help the readers understand my shock, this is what the average goby looks like:

The Dragon or Violet Goby (Gobioides brousonnetti) looks like a baby arowana. It has a mouth that snaps like a trapdoor and is armed with razor-sharp teeth. Don't let that fool you. Dragon Gobies are scavengers/small predators native to the brackish waters of Florida, which is slowly becoming the new Southeast Asia. It ranges all the way to northern Brazil. 

It gets weirder. Like all gobies, the Dragon Goby has a sucker instead of a pelvic fin. It will, like one of those sucker fish (Plecos, for those wondering), stick to the side of the tank like a leech-dragon. It is also nearly blind, making things even stranger.  Geeez, D-War, why couldn't you make nightmare fuel out of that instead of botching your own national mythology?

Nightmare fuel. Yes.

Should you wish to tame a dragon of your very own, there are various care sheets online. Most of them recommend a diet of bloodworms, shrimp, and, umm, letting the fish filter out whatever's growing on the gravel. They would rather eat dead things than live. Include other docile fish that can handle the dragon's brackish environ. Dragon Gobies are hardy, but you will get the best fish if you make the aquarium as close to its natural habitat as possible. They don't belong in Wal-Mart mini-tanks.

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