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Animal Themes
Fish
Mudskippers



Mudskippers
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.53

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    unthinkable, forte, pelvic, arm-like, sunfish, mudskippers, mangrove, aqua-free, mudskipper, up-close, warning, absorb, thus, extremely, underside, fishy
     content words:    Indian Oceans


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Mudskippers   

1     Mudskippers are small (up to 12 inches in length) but extremely unusual. Though they may not be as ferocious as great white sharks, as big as ocean sunfish, as colorful as clown fish, or as speedy as tuna, they possess one forte that none of these fishes have. That specialty is to stay out of water!
 
2     That's right! Mudskippers are often seen hopping across mud flats near mangrove swamps or river estuaries along the coasts of Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans. Their movement on land is so swift that they look more comfortable there than they do in water. Nevertheless, mudskippers are fish after all. Thus, they never stray far from water's edge and can only go on "aqua-free" up to a couple of days.
 
3     How can mudskippers survive without water? Well, it turns out that they have several unique adaptations that allow them to accomplish this otherwise unthinkable fishy task. To start with, mudskippers have different ways to breathe depending on where they are. If underwater, they use their gills to absorb dissolved oxygen as most fishes do. But before they get ready to go ashore, they enlarge their gill chambers and fill them with water. Once on land, they rely on these special "oxygen tanks" to supply their blood with oxygen. Alternatively, they can also breathe through their moist skin that contains a complex network of blood capillaries. To keep their skin wet at all times, mudskippers often roll in puddles or have their tails immersed -- a habit that misled earlier scientists to conclude that mudskippers used their tails to breathe.

Paragraphs 4 to 8:
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Animal Themes
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Fish
             Fish



Animals
    Amphibians  
 
    Birds  
 
    Deserts  
 
    Fish  
 
    Freshwater  
 
    Grasslands  
 
    Insects  
 
 
    Invertebrates  
 
    Mammals  
 
    Oceans  
 
    Polar Regions  
 
    Rain Forest  
 
    Reptiles  
 


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