Meet the Mandarinfish
Mandarinfish are pretty splendid, so much so it’s in their scientific name Synchiropus splendidus. This fish stands out in the lagoons and coral reefs of the Western Pacific thanks to its vibrant rainbow coloration. But beware of this beauty … this bright coloration actually serves as a warning to other animals. Instead of scales, this fish is covered in a thick coating of poisonous slime! This slime is a spectacular form of defense — it protects them from parasites and makes them much less appetizing to potential predators.
This reef dewlling fish are tiny and only gets to be about the size of a thumb! But don’t let their small stature fool you … they’re known to lie low in reefs and lagoons, constantly on the hunt for small crustaceans and other tiny invertebrates. Mandarinfish are also known for their uniquely large and forward-facing eyes — a feature not commonly found on most fish.
Be on the lookout for the Mandarinfish on your next visit to the aquarium — you can find this fabulous fish swimming among the shrimpfish in Seadragons & Seahorses.