When people first approach the goosefish exhibit, many visitors have a hard time finding her in the tank. The goosefish is perfect at blending into the seafloor with her gray color and a flattened body shape. And when it’s time to find food, this appearance has a lot of advantages!
|Can you find the goosefish?|
Goosefish are opportunistic feeders and will eat anything that comes near their oversized mouths, including fish, birds, shrimp…even soda cans! By blending in, the chances of a food item swimming close to the fish increase. The goosefish will lie on the seafloor, wait for something to get close and then, with a quick burst of speed, engulf the whole item with its mouth. Check out this slow motion video of our goosefish eating!
To help draw prey closer, goosefish have what looks like a fishing pole with a lure on the top of their head. They use this modified fin to ‘fish’ for their food. By waving it up in the water, the small lure resembles a small fish or a worm and attracts larger fish, such as silversides, closer to the goosefish. Once that happens, it’s lunchtime for the goosefish!
|The goosefish's modified dorsal fin acts as a fishing lure.|
The shiny fish in the exhibit, called silversides, are not her food (the aquarists provide her with healthy meals on a special feeding tool) but provide the goosefish with behavioral enrichment. By having the silversides near her, the goosefish gets a chance to practice her fishing skills.
In addition to her ravishing beauty and impressive fishing skills, the goosefish has another noteworthy accomplishment: Each year she wows visitors with her egg veil. This year our aquarist caught video of her laying the egg veil! See more pictures and video of the egg veil.
So the next time you visit our Gulf of Maine exhibits, stop by and check out the goosefish. If you are lucky, you might be able to see her fishing! And while you're in these chilly Northern Waters galleries, don't miss the octopus and green anemone tidepool exhibits.