The mudskipper is a one inch long fish that lives on the mudflats along the estuaries and rivers of Africa, Asia and Australia. The abilities that God has designed into the mudskipper are among some of the most unusual of all the unusual fishes that were created to swim in the oceans.
Mudskippers spend their time during high tide tucked into burrows that they dig in the muddy bottoms of these estuaries. Then at low tide they leave the burrows and “walk” on their pectoral fins as they swing their heads back and forth in search of shrimp and other small edible objects. They can stay out of the water for several hours until the tide returns. They are able to hold water in their gill covers, and also absorb oxygen through their skin. It has also now been learned that they can also hold air in their mouths with which they can survive.
Biologists have known that mudflat burrows are very poor homes because of the lack of oxygen as bacteria decay leaves and other organic matter and use up the oxygen. The scientists did not know how the mudskipper was able to survive in these airless holes. It has now come to light because of the careful observations of biologists that God’s plan for the mudskipper is one of amazing forethought.
It seems that the mudskipper is not only busy during the times of low tide feeds, but they are also very busy collecting air and storing it for when the tide comes back in. The mudskipper does this by gulping air in its mouth. It then scampers back down into its hole where it blows the air out in the burrow. When the mudskipper comes out of the hole it always looks deflated as compared to when it went in just a few minutes earlier. This will is repeated for up to 30 minutes at a time or until the burrow is well aerated.
Not only does this let the mudskipper have air to breath during the time of high tide, but also probably is how the eggs that are also laid inside of burrows survive. Without oxygen the eggs would not survive. This talent of gulping air and carrying it and storing it up for a later time and to provide for the eggs of the future generation points to a Divine plan by the Creator--not accidental, natural selection over eons of time.
Man has so many things that we do not understand about the simplest of God’s creation. The mudskipper points this out with room left over for the skeptic to marvel at. Man strives to explain the unexplainable when he takes the creator out of the picture. “To God be the Glory, great things he has done.”“Oh those West Virginia Hills how majestic and how grand . . .” As the song indicates in the hills and valleys around us in North Central West Virginia, we can see the glory and majesty of God. But if while we are on a walk in those beautiful hills we stop and look carefully at the things around us, we will see more of the majesty of God.
On one summer evening during West Virginia Christian Youth Camp, I had just such an opportunity. I took time to hike to the “rocks” at the top of the hill behind the camp site, and as the staff knows, this location provides a beautiful view of the valleys surrounding our location. Upon reaching the top and finding a nice rock upon which to sit and enjoy the peace and solitude, I relaxed to soak in the handiwork of God’s creation and catch my breath from the climb up the hill.
While sitting quietly I noticed a small piece of green plant moving on my left. Of course, I was not so tired that this passed my attention. Watching closer, this half inch long bright green object continued to move upward on my pants leg. By this time I was sure that this was no plant as it moved steadily upwards. Further examination showed this creature to be a baby walking stick. The walking stick is one of the truly amazing examples of God’s design for camouflage to hide an animal from its predators.
The walking stick as a mature adult is generally some six inches long or so and the body is brown and about the thickness of a pencil lead. It has six legs (since it is an insect), that are long and spindly and are jointed in such a manner as to form right angles with its body and the surface it is on. The antenna are one to two inches in length and enhance the over all appearance of this insect as being just another dead twig hanging on a branch. When hanging on a limb the walking stick is just about invisible and may not be seen at all unless it moves when you are looking directly at it. As the name aptly indicates, this insect looks just like a “walking stick”; if you imagined a dead stick with six long legs you would have this insect.
Well, the baby walking stick is just about ten times as hard to see. This was my first time to see one after 35 years of collecting and observing everything I could in God’s creation. It moves with an even slower motion than that of the adults and is a bright green color. As the baby walking stick climbs or hangs on grasses and leaves it shows almost no noticeable features and just looks like a plant extension.
God’s plan for how this animal would look has got to be one of the most marvelous examples of creative design. In many animals we can see the functionality that God gave the animal, but in the creation of the walking stick, God showed his intelligence and knowledge about how to hide one of his creation’s “marvelous handiworks.”