Colubrothorax personata is a species of Dipressioductatid Pressionatatid amphibian fro the Gulf Sea. The species can be found in the outer sections of the reefs, where the waters get deeper, usually alone or in small groups hunting for small to medium amphibians like, Cyclopiscopinninoids like Frisbeefishes, reef Selenopiscoids, small to medium-sized reef Limns, small Enetodontids like Veiled Kugawas and other nektonic organisms. The baso-pressionatatid, while retaining the pressure jets, uses a lot more body motion to swim compared to its more pressure swimming cousins, maintaining the basal function of the jets as osmotic chambers instead. The slow-moving predator passes long periods just coasting around the coralline wall to check that their territory is kept safe from competition brought upon by animals like Enetodontids, Pressionatatids and Limns which will hunt if it gets the opportunity. The massive jaws are oriented at an upward angle, making them especially powerful in crunching down prey by crushing bones between thm and the maxilla. The tendons and muscles of the Adductor mandibulae muscle complex are particularly large in the species, reflecting the very large processes of the surangular bones of the jaws; strong aponeurotic muscles give the animal the ability to close the jaw very quickly onto prey, acting much like a beartrap. C. personata's hunting tactic is to move slowly as to not alarm prey, creeping close to it from their blind spot, opening the mouth gradually as it prepares to strike. Once close enough, the animal will dart towards prey and, in just a few seconds, crush the animal's body with its jaws, usually killing prey instantly and allowing it to loosen its bite to get prey deeper into the mouth, where the lanial apparatus will start the masticatory process. There are many subspecies of Colubrothorax personata in the Gulf Sea, ranging in colour, size and preferred prey. The largest subspecies is Colubrothorax personata brightii, pictured above, found in the outer sections of the Eastern reefs and hunts mostly limns and other medium to large amphibians. Colubrothorax personata personata, the type species, is only found in the central reefs and is considerably smaller than its eastern cousin, hunting mostly smaller animals like Kikas and Frisbeefishes that live among the corals. Colubrothorax personata's size makes it especially interesting for ecotourism, driving many divers into the area to witness the large pressionatatid in its natural environment. The species has been hunted profusely during the last two centuries for its meat, usually considered to be delicious and, although hunting has been since regulated, its population has still to fully recover due to the past overfishing and other anthropical stresses brought upon by the intense tourism and pollution derived from it. Today, only specimens up to a certain size can be hunted, young and mature specimens are to be released if caught by New Lousianan maritime law. The animal is usually cooked in a pan with plant oils and vegetables or simmered in mixed stews with cook rattle sauce and sealer shells; depending on the cooking method the meat can be either soft and sweet or firm and savoury.
- Head small and compressed compared to the body.
- Jaw wide and pointed upwards, dermocranial teeth few and far between.
- Dorsal I fin grows directly from above the top of the cranium and goes down the body up to the same level as the Anal I fin.
- Body elongated and eel-like.
- Pressure jets small, operating much more like osmotic chambers.
- Pectoral fin rounded, growing close to the head.
- Anal I fin composed of five digits, the last of which very long, going down to the same level of the Anal II fin.
- Gill Tail short ending in a low Gill Fan.
- Postbranchial tail longer than the Gill Tail itself.
Genetics and Reproduction
Seasonally monogamous species. C. personata mates in the summer. The species will mate with only one other specimen during the season, when the animal will start releasing hormonal trails from the Jets, permeating their territory with them, signalling conspecifics of their availability. The role the two will play in mating depends on the situation, usually the larger of the two will end up being the active male, while the smaller one will take the role of the passive female. The reason for this is not due to some innate factor in the species but from a selection process in which the two will hit one another on the sides with the body while swimming in a parallel trajectory; the one who gets thrown away first becomes the passive female and, due to size difference, this usually ends up being the younger of the two. Once the roles have been decided, the two will move to a sideway swimming position, using the small jets to slowly cruise. By giving each other full access to the thorax, the active male can fertilize the passive female. Once coitus comes to an end, the two specimens will each go their way. The passive female will incubate the eggs in an external egg sac attached to the genitals' external surface until they hatch. Of the seventeen to twenty eggs that hatch only a few will survive to maturity.
Growth Rate & Stages
Hatchlings are born flattened and sand coloured, they'll find refuge in the under-reef along the walls until they are large enought o leave and brave the open waters. The natal aculeus is fully developed at birth and will be lost one to two weeks after being born.
Ecology and Habitats
Epipelagic species found at depths between 10 and 70 m. It lives along coral walls in the outer reefs of the Gulf Sea. It likes waters with plenty of light and currents.
Dietary Needs and Habits
Periannial creature with no dips in activity during the year.
Mature specimens lonesome, rarely accepting any conspecifics in their territory. Young specimens live in small communities with their siblings up until maturity.
Rarely kept in public aquariums, the species is usually a centerpiece in reef tanks in such establishments.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Once overfished for its meat, hunting of the species has since been regulated due to conservation issues. To this day the species is seen in many stews in the area. Second major usage is in the Ecotouristic industry as it attracts many people with its large menacing look and docile behaviors towards divers.
Perception and Sensory Capabilities
Animal relies mostly on sight, good hearing.
Symbiotic and Parasitic organisms
Afflicted by Intestinal Tube Worms, in a commensalistic relationship with Scrapper Limns, which are outside of its prey list.
Pressionatatia; Dipressioductata ; Colubrothorax; C. personata
Vulnerable: the species suffered population loss due to overfishing and other anthropic activities, partial protection laws were put in place by the New Louisianian government. Population Trend: SLOW RECOVERY
Body Tint, Colouring and Marking
For C. personata brightii: Body red to ruddy, sandy to yellow striped. Fins aquamarine, except for Dorsal I which is a gradient from blue to azure to green. Green mask over the eyes. Postbranchial tail yellow to sandy coloured.