Creature Feature #4: Blackspot Tuskfish

My appreciation of fish was, before I wrote the picture book series about animal adaptations, limited to the beautiful tropical fish I see while snorkeling. Yet as research has shown me time and time again, there is so much more to appreciate! In Antifreeze, Leaf Costumes, and Other Fabulous Fish Adaptations (Nomad Press, August 2020), you can read about some of the fabulous fish adaptations I discovered.

For example, one might think that fish don’t use tools. Ah, think again! If you were a fish and you wanted to get a clam shell open (yum!), what would you do? Like the blackspot tuskfish, you’d use a rock. The fish doesn’t pick up the rock, though. Instead, it bashes the clam shell against the rock over and over again until it breaks! It’s genius. Then, they use their tusk-like front teeth to get the fleshy part out of the shell.It gets better.

Scientists and divers have discovered broken shells littered around a single rock on the ocean floor. This suggests that when a tuskfish finds a rock they like they use it many times! Observation of the fish bashing a shell against a rock also reveals the precision and skill with which the fish delivers the perfect blow to its desired meal.