Xogulano: The Lichen Fish

Sea Lichen fish
Lichen Fish

Further publication of my research on the lost islands of Xogulano. I have now been two weeks on the islands and they show no sign of dropping into the sea. However, I have taken to sleeping at night with a flotation device wrapped around my waist and a flare wrapped in a plastic bag and tied to my wrist.

The fish you see above is one I pulled from a shallow pool between the two major islands. The boatmen were shouting at me not to touch it saying it was poisonous, but I experienced no ill effects. I suspect their superstitions take precedence over logic, and it certainly looks like a fish that could contain bad spirits.

I have named it the lichen fish, because what looked like a number of colourful warts at first, turned out to be lichens attached to its skin.

As far as I can ascertain, it mimics rocks, so that orange sea lichens are attracted to, then it actually farms the lichen. Lichen are a symbiosis between fungi and alga – algae  photosynthesize and create food for the fungi. However, once the lichens have attached to the fish, it also gets a meal, absorbing the nutrients through its scales. It’s possible that the lichen benefits too, the fish can swim to shallower waters (which of course shift with the tide) and perhaps give the lichen a mobility it wouldn’t otherwise have.

Dr Florence

15 thoughts on “Xogulano: The Lichen Fish

  1. What a wonderful fish! How clever of it to mimic a rock! I can’t imagine how you sleep with a flotation device around your waist, but not worth risking an unscheduled swim. Lovely post, thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, nature is certainly innovative. It is a little tricky to sleep with the device, but better safe than sorry. I’m touched that you enjoyed my drawings. Dr Florence

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the concern about the islands falling away into the sea right beside description of the fish, which captures the scientific air very well. The former gave me the impression of something along the lines of absurdism and the pairing of that sensation with the scientific one starts a lovely tone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. You made friends with a little yellow grunt fish? Just looked it up, it looks a bit like a muppet, so a great friend to have 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would hide in rocks until I came to its aquarium. Then it came out and followed me as I walked along so visitors could see it. It sort of hopped along in spurts and we would give people stethoscopes to put on the glass and listen to the grunts it made when it hopped. It’s only a few inches long and very round and, well, cute.

        Liked by 1 person

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