Posted 18th Mar 2016
New underwater photography has revealed some fascinating new information about one of the UK's most intriguing and inquisitive fish
Paul Naylor has studied tompot blennies for many years, taking over 100 dives in Devon to find out more about them. More recently, he has found out that each one comes with distinctive facial markings, which has allowed him to get to know individual blennies. Amongst other things he found out that males encourage females - not only one but many - and over subsequent breeding seasons, to lay eggs which will then be guarded by the male from predators, including the likes of fish and crabs, until they have finally hatched.
Paul was also able to find out that males will have disputes over territory, as he was able to record one that recovered from injuries suffered in one such fight.
Younger tompot blennies will learn the adult ways quickly, as even younger fish will have stand-offs. Paul was also able to record a very unusual part of blenny behaviour while on the Dorset coast, with a large male tompot celebrating it's territorial victory by pushing a large shell around the seabed as a way of 'showing off' to two smaller tompots.
Speaking about his findings, Paul said: “I hope the results of this study will help to illustrate the awesome antics going on in UK waters and how important it is for us to protect them for the future.”
Image courtesy of Paul Naylor / Marine Photography