This week, our fish is the fanciest sea creature of the Gulf of Guinea! This flying gurnard (Dactylopterus volitans) was caught on camera on the past September 2019, in a shallow area close to São Miguel (São Tomé). The pectoral fins of this species are divided in two, and the anterior half can move independently forming two sensorial “fingers” that they use to scratch the bottom in search for food. The other half are their characteristic “wings”, which they can open when threatened to scare off their predators. It is quite common to see this well-dressed fish hovering elegantly over São Tomé and Príncipe’s sandy bottoms with their colourful fins expanded.
This activity is part of an initiative funded by the Blue Action Fund and Arcadia Fund, led by Fauna & Flora International, and implemented by the local organisations MARAPA, Oikos and Fundação Príncipe, with the objective of establishing a network of Marine Protected Areas in São Tomé and Príncipe. The 2019 videos from São Tomé are currently being analysed by Adam Dixon, a master’s student of the MSc Biodiversity and Conservation programme at the University of Exeter.