Spear Fishing for Mandarin Dragonettes

Green Target Mandarin Dragonette

Green Target Mandarin Dragonette

What could MacGyver build out of a small piece of wood, a paperclip, some fishing line, a drinking straw, and a rubberband? If you’re thinking of some type of explosive, you might be close, but that’s not quite where I’m heading with it. If MacGyver were a livestock collector from the Phillipines, he might be building a spear gun to catch mandarin dragonettes. I came across this very interesting article from the guys at Coral Morphologic, where livestock collectors were trying to find ways to safely catch mandarin gobies without harming them or having to use destructive techniques. While this story might now be irrelevant due to the wildly popular ORA captive bred mandarins, I thought it interesting nonetheless.

Since mandarins are small and typically hang out under rock structures, they are very hard t catch. In previous years, collectors used cyanide and other reef destroying techniques to capture all sorts of livestock. Now you are curious as to how a spear gun would be any different. Obviously a mandarin couldn’t take a direct shot through the torso with a small spear. The collectors instead aim for the tail fin. The spear tip (a paper clip in this case) is a two-prong spear that pins the fish to the substrate. Once the fish is pinned, the collector can easily scoop it up. After the fish is caught and placed in a holding facility, its fins will very quickly heal.

To see pictures of the spear gun and to view the original story, please visit the Morphologic Blog.


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