Sometimes, evolution give you a free pass. There are instances where something your species has spent millennia adapting for a specific purpose is also very well suited for an entirely different task, making your job of living a whole lot easier. The Sicyopterus genus of goby fish is one such lucky duck…or rather, fish.
Its mouth is like a tiny suction cup, allowing it to eat algae and other tiny life forms off surfaces. Sicyopterus, along with other goby genera, also has a suction cup-like structure on its belly, allowing them to climb waterfalls. Like salmon, they spend much of their lives swimming upstream to lay their eggs in fresh water, but since gobies can’t jump over waterfalls like salmon, they shimmy up the rocks in their native Hawaii with their sticky bellies.
Sicyopterus has found an even more efficient way of doing this. Instead of squirming up the surface using only one suction cup like other gobies, members of this genus inch along by alternating between their bellies and their mouths, a more secure way of climbing. Using this method, Sicyopterus can climb waterfalls up to 300 feet high.
Check out the clever little fish in action:
The findings are published in the scientific journal PLOS One.