Saturday, March 23, 2013

Can You Handle The Slippery Dick?

This slippery guy can commonly be found all over including the Western Atlantic and down from North Carolina to Bermuda and Brazil. This species can normally be expected to reach an impressive size of around 30 centimeters in length (about 12 inches), juveniles obviously being much smaller than full-grown adults. Gentlemen, old and young, have been known to compare the size of their Slippery Dicks in public, usually on the shores of the ocean, (all in good fun of course). But beware when attempting to handle the Dick, don’t startle it or grab it too tight for it can produce a slimy, mucus-like coating when alarmed or frightened (which is a defense mechanism).

Oh I apologize; I would like to clear up any confusion this may cause because the minds of kids these days are going down-hill. This is a biology course, and the Slippery Dick is of course a species of fish, not human genitalia; sickos.

Anyways moving forward, the Slippery swims with its tail down like it is being dragged along behind it and has a skinny, slim body which aids in swimming at quick speeds. They also come in several shades with a large variation in colors consisting from light purples and yellows to anything like shades of green and brown. Younger Dicks tend to be white, while the adults gain color and have a large, dark stripe running along the whole body from the tail to the eye. There is another stripe that runs on the underside of the body that doesn’t tend to develop until adulthood for the fish. Interestingly enough, all Slippery Dicks are protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning they are all born female, and as they develop some make the sex shift to become males. When mating, the (now) male Slippery Dick acts in a very masculine way indeed. The males form what is known as a lek. This is a kind of territory in which the males show off their prowess. If you think of a fishy kind of WWF, then you are fairly close to the mark. Wondrously, the male Slippery Dick comes in phases, known as initial and terminal. The initial phase male Slippery Dicks are not aggressive or territorial. They will spawn together with a single female. The older, terminal phase Slippery Dick, however, will only mate with a single female a time.

Fun fact: the Slippery Dick is supposedly quite tasty and there are apparently numerous ways to eat them. Bars and shacks have been known to be named after these fish including a number of events: weirder events have included the spotting of women carrying a Slippery Dick in each hand, followed by swallowing the poor fellas simultaneously. 

Nick Mulone


  1. This is hilarious! Yes my mind thought I had stumbled upon another blog. Thanks for making learning FUN!

  2. Interesting post! I recently posted an article about fish that also change their gender and play specific roles in mating. So neat!

    Kimberly Ty (3)