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Gobies

Hugely diverse

Gobies



Fish Index

Fish



Gobies

Fish - Gobies

Sharks & Rays

Sharks & Rays

Anenome Fish

Anenome Fish

Anthias

Fish - Anthias

Angelfish

Angelfish

Batfish

Fish -Batfish

Blennies

Fish - Blennies

Dottybacks

Fish - Dottybacks

Wrasse

Fish - Wrasse

Gobies are the largest fish family, with some 2000 species globally in c. 212 genera. There are 371 species in SE Asia alone. They are commensal with corals, sea whips, bryozoans, ascidians, sponges; occupy virtually all niches that coral reefs have to offer; live in burrows with blind shrimps; graze on mud slopes; or build huge colonies in areas of coral rubble. They live either singly or move through and between reefs, like the iconic crab gobies. They are often "good parents", clearing an area for laying eggs and then guarding them until they hatch.

Their tremendous diversity is entirely dependant on intact reefs, and the surrounding environments. Trawling, cyanide fishing for the aquarium trade, and dynamite fishing are a serious threat to the behavioural and colour spectacle that gobies that enrich our lives with.

Following Allen & Erdmann (2012), the diversity of gobies is presented in four groups here.

For review only the genera Partner Gobies are shown

Partner Gobies



These gobies live together with various snapping shrimps in burrows in mud or rubble. The gobies can see very well but not burrow, and the shrimps are great burrowers, but are blind, so it is a great partnership. When the shrimps leave the burrow to push excavated rubble far out from the burrow, you'll often see the goby moving out along side the shrimp to protect it from predators (pers. obs.).

Shrimp gobies are however sitting ducks for some predators. Flamboyant Cuttlefish are a serious threat to large colonies of mixed species shrimp gobies. Moving so slowly that they are undetected, they can clean out an entire area of gobies and shrimp in just a few days.

There are still many undescribed species, some of which are even common in some areas. Some species are very variable in colour and patterning, e.g. Cryptocentrus fasciatus.

Cryptocentrus fasciatus
Cryptocentrus fasciatus with Alpheus cf. bellatulus
Cryptocentrus fasciatus with Alpheus cf. bellatulus
Cryptocentrus fasciatus with Alpheus cf. bellatulus
Cryptocentrus fasciatus
Cryptocentrus cinctus with alpheid partner shrimps
Cryptocentrus sericus
Cryptocentrus sericus with alpheid partner shrimps
Stonogobiops nematodes
Stonogobiops xanthorhinica with Alpheus randalli
Amblyeleotris arcupinna
Amblyeleotris guttata
Amblyeleotris latifasciata
Amblyeleotris periophthalma
Amblyeleotris randalli
Amblyeleotris sp. with the parasitic Gymnodoris nigricolor nudibranch
Amblyeleotris sp. 2
mblyeleotris  wheeleri
Amblyeleotris  wheeleri
Amblyeleotris yanoi
Tomiyamichthys sp.
Tomiyamichthys nudus
Tomiyamichthys nudus
Tomiyamichthys oni
Tomiyamichthys latruncularius

Commensal Gobies



These generally small gobies can be found between the folds of plated bryozoan colonies; moving in pairs between the coral branches hunting for food; hiding on a sea whip; sitting on a sponge, blending in to the background, and many other habitats. Often one species is found only in association with a single type of host, or only in a very specific habitat. When the hosts disappear, so do they.

Bryaninops cf. annella
Bryaninops cf. annella
Bryaninops earlei with eggs
Bryaninops eggs on a sea whip
Bryaninops loki
Bryaninops natans
Bryaninops natans
Bryaninops natans
Bryaninops sp. 1
Gobiodon okinawae
Paragobiodon melanosomus
Paragobiodon melanosomas
Paragobiodon xanthosoma
Paragobiodon xanthosoma
Pleurosicya cf. mossambica on Tubastrea
Sueviota bryozophila in a Triphyllozoon colony

Microgobies



These small gobies (amongst the smallest vertebrates) can be seen in small groups hovering above Acropora plates, and disappearing between the sharp branches at the first sign of danger; sitting on a Halimeda "leaf" in a hollow, streaking up occasionally to catch a copepod; living upside down on the roofs of overhangs; living in big colonies amongst coral rubble; and many other habitats. Studies have shown that their lifespan can be very short, sometimes only a matter of weeks.

For a photographer they are amazingly colourful fish, providing a wealth of opportunities for creative photography.

Asterropteryx atripes
Eviota nigriventris
Eviota nigriventris
Eviota cf. nigriventris
Eviota prasites
Eviota raja
Eviota sebreei
Lubricogobius exiguus
Luposicya lupus
Trimma benjamini
Trimma cf. anaima
Trimma anaima
Trimma anaima
Trimma anaima
Trimma caudimaculatum
Trimma cf. halonevum
Timma lantana
Trimma rubromaculatum
Trimma sp. 1
Trimma striatum
Trimma striatum
Trimma cf. tevegae
Trimma cf. taylori
Trimma cf. taylori
Trimma tevegae
Trimma sp. 2 with copepod parasite
Trimma sp. 2

Sand Gobies



These gobies are somewhat larger, usually over 6cm long. They often swim in pairs, have camouflage colours, and feed along the edges of reefs, over mud and sand slopes, amongst mangroves and in estuaries. They can often be observed taking mouthfuls of sand or mud and after filtering out what is edible, expelling the rest through their gill covers. Some, like Signal Gobies (Signigobius biocellatus) share a burrow and stay within a sheltered fine sandy area within a reef.

Amblygobiius decussatus
Amblygobius phalaena
Amblygobius phalaena
Fusigovius sigipinnis
Signigobius biocellatus
Signigobius biocellatus
Valencienea puellaris
Valencienea helsdingenii
Valencienea stigata
Valencienea strigata

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Partner Gobies

Partner Gobies

These gobies live together with various snapping shrimps in burrows in mud or rubble. The gobies can see very well but not burrow, and the shrimps are great burrowers, but are blind, so it is a great partnership. When the shrimps leave the burrow to push excavated rubble far out from the burrow, you'll often see the goby moving out along side the shrimp to protect it from predators (pers. obs.).

Shrimp gobies are however sitting ducks for some predators. Flamboyant Cuttlefish are a serious threat to large colonies of mixed species shrimp gobies. Moving so slowly that they are undetected, they can clean out an entire area of gobies and shrimp in just a few days.

There are still many undescribed species, some of which are even common in some areas. Some species are very variable in colour and patterning, e.g. Cryptocentrus fasciatus.

Stacks Image 2366
Stacks Image 2368
Cryptocentrus fasciatus
Stacks Image 2373
Stacks Image 2376
Stacks Image 2378
Stacks Image 2379
Stacks Image 2383
Stacks Image 2388
Stacks Image 2397
Stacks Image 2398
Stacks Image 2401
Stacks Image 2405
Stacks Image 2410
Stacks Image 2416
Stacks Image 2421
Stacks Image 2424
Stacks Image 2426

Commensal Gobies

Commensal Gobies

These generally small gobies can be found between the folds of plated bryozoan colonies; moving in pairs between the coral branches hunting for food; hiding on a sea whip; sitting on a sponge, blending in to the background, and many other habitats. Often one species is found only in association with a single type of host, or only in a very specific habitat. When the hosts disappear, so do they.

Bryaninops cf. annella
Bryaninops cf. annella
Bryaninops earlei with eggs
Bryaninops eggs on a sea whip
Bryaninops loki
Bryaninops natans
Bryaninops natans
Bryaninops natans
Bryaninops sp. 1
Gobiodon okinawae
Paragobiodon melanosomus
Paragobiodon melanosomas
Paragobiodon xanthosoma
Paragobiodon xanthostoma
Pleurosicya cf. mossambica
Sueviota bryozophila in a Triphyllozoon colony

Microgobies

Microgobies

These small gobies (amongst the smallest vertebrates) can be seen in small groups hovering above Acropora plates, and disappearing between the sharp branches at the first sign of danger; sitting on a Halimeda "leaf" in a hollow, streaking up occasionally to catch a copepod; living upside down on the roofs of overhangs; living in big colonies amongst coral rubble; and many other habitats. Studies have shown that their lifespan can be very short, sometimes only a matter of weeks.

For a photographer they are amazingly colourful fish, providing a wealth of opportunities for creative photography.

Asterropteryx atripes
Eviota nigriventris
Eviota cf. nigriventris
Stacks Image 2793
Eviota raja
Eviota sebreei
Lubricogobius exiguus
Luposicya lupus
Trimma benjamini
Trimma cf. anaima
Trimma anaima
Trimma cana
Trimma caudimaculatum
Trimma cf. halonevum
Timma lantana
Trimma rubromaculatum
Trimma sp. 1
Trimma striatum
Trimma striatum
Trimma cf. tevegae
 Trimma cf. taylori
Trimma cf. taylori
Trimma tevegae
Trimma sp. 2 with copepod parasite

Sand Gobies

Sand Gobies

These gobies are somewhat larger, usually over 6cm long. They often swim in pairs, have camouflage colours, and feed along the edges of reefs, over mud and sand slopes, amongst mangroves and in estuaries. They can often be observed taking mouthfuls of sand or mud and after filtering out what is edible, expelling the rest through their gill covers. Some, like Signal Gobies (Signigobius biocellatus) share a burrow and stay within a sheltered fine sandy area within a reef.

Amblygobiius decussatus
Amblygobius phalaena
Amblygobius phalaena
 Fusigovius sigipinnis
 Signigobius biocellatus
 Signigobius biocellatus
Valencienea puellaris
Valencienea helsdingenii
Valencienea stigata
Valencienea stigata