Boleophthalmus pectinirostris fish

Boleophthalmus pectinirostris – the great blue spotted mudskipper

Boleophthalmus dussumieri is a species of mudskipper native to Northwest Pacific, but also found in northern Vietnam. It can be found on mudflats in fresh, brackish and marine waters of in northern Vietnam: Hải Phòng, Quảng Ninh, Ninh Bình.

  • Family: Oxudercidae
  • Genus: Boleophthalmus
  • Species: Boleophthalmus pectinirostris
  • English name: great blue spotted mudskipper
  • Vietnamese name: cá lác, cá lác ngoách, cá lác hoa, nác hoa, nác
Boleophthalmus pectinirostris - the great blue spotted mudskipper
Boleophthalmus pectinirostris – the great blue spotted mudskipper

B. pectinirostris is closely related with a similar Boleophthalmus fish known as Boleophthalmus boddarti or Boddart’s goggle-eyed goby. Both have two dorsal fins that resembles a ship sail, but the latter has some zebra strips on the body. Boddart mudskippers are found in southern Vietnam, especially in Cần Giờ mangrove forests (Ho Chi Minh city), or in Cù Lao Dung island (Sóc Trăng province).

Boleophthalmus boddarti
Boleophthalmus boddarti – Vietnamese: cá bống sao

Also, B. pectinirostris is often mistaken for the giant mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri, Vietnamese: cá thòi lòi). The latter is dark brown with less visible spots, much bigger eyes and head (compared to the body), and has the ability to climb trees.

The giant mudskippers (Periophthalmodon schlosseri)
The giant mudskippers (Periophthalmodon schlosseri) – Vietnamese: cá thòi lòi

Culinary uses

Cooking mudskippers in general is challenging because those fish have a very strong smell. The common cooking method is braising with pungent spices like lemongrass and chili, or with some special herbs that can mask or dispel the fishy and muddy smell. Known herbs are Indian camphorweed, Catunaregam tomentosa (găng), and Vietnamese coriander (Persicaria odorata, rau răm).

Braised great blue spotted mudskippers with gang leaves
Braised “great blue spotted mudskippers” with găng leaves

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