Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory



<I>Alabes springeri</I> holotype

Alabes springeri holotype

<I>Cochleoceps bassensis</I>

Cochleoceps bassensis


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CAAB: 37206000


Clingfishes, Shore Eels

Compiler and date details

27 September 2013 - Douglass F. Hoese, Dianne J. Bray & Matthew M. Lockett

20 December 2006 - Douglass F. Hoese & Dianne J. Bray


Members of the Gobiesocidae occur worldwide in tropical and temperate marine environments, but the family is more speciose in temperate waters. Currently, 36 genera and 140 species are recognised worldwide (Nelson 2006). In Australia, there are 12 genera and 33 described species as well as several undescribed species (Hutchins 1994, 2008).

Except for species of Alabes, most gobiesocids have a sucking disc formed from modified pelvic fins. The group tends to be most speciose in temperate regions. They are commonly associated with sea grass and rocky and coral reefs, and are found in depths from intertidal regions to over 200 m. Gobiesocids are generally small sized, ranging in size as adults from 1.5 to 30 cm, with the largest Australian species around 11 cm.

Briggs (1955) first revised the family, but many new genera and species have been discovered subsequently, and Springer & Fraser (1976) formally placed Alabes in Gobiesocidae. Hutchins (1983, 1991) revised the Australian endemic genus Cochleoceps and provided a key to species. Hutchins (1984) also revised Aspasmogaster and presented a key to species. Lepadichthys lineatus Briggs, 1966 was recorded from Australia by Hutchins (2001), but further work is needed on Lepadichthys and the related Discotrema, based on information provided by B. Hutchins to validate the record. B. Hutchins kindly provided valuable information on species in this family.


Excluded Taxa


GOBIESOCIDAE: Trachelochismus pinnulatus (Forster, 1801) [apparently based on misidentified specimen; genus is endemic to New Zealand] — Paulin, C.D. & Roberts, C.D. 1992. The rockpool fishes of New Zealand. Te ika aaria o Aotearoa. Wellington : Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa 177 pp. [46]; Francis, M. 2001. Coastal Fishes of New Zealand. Auckland : Reed Publishing (NZ) 3rd edn, 103 pp.


General References

Briggs, J.C. 1955. A monograph of the clingfishes (order Xenopterygii). Stanford Ichthyological Bulletin 6: 1-224 figs 1-114

Hutchins, B. 2006. Description of two new species of shore-eels (Gobiesocidae: Cheilobranchinae: Alabes) from south-eastern Australia and Norfolk Island. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 63(1): 25-28

Hutchins, B. & Morrison, S. 2004. Five new fish species of the genus Alabes (Gobiesocidae: Cheilobranchinae). Records of the Australian Museum 56: 147-158

Hutchins, J.B. 1983. Redescription of the clingfish Cochleoceps spatula (Gobiesocidae) from Western Australia and South Australia, with the description of a new species from Victoria and Tasmania. Records of the Western Australian Museum 11(1): 33-47 figs 1-7

Hutchins, J.B. 1984. Description of a new gobiesocid fish from south-western Australia, with a key to the species of Aspasmogaster. Records of the Western Australian Museum 11(2): 129-140 figs 1-5

Hutchins, J.B. 1991. Description of three new species of gobiesocid fishes from southern Australia, with a key to the species of Cochleoceps. Records of the Western Australian Museum 15(3): 655-672

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. Family Gobiesocidae. pp. 305-324, figs 269-289 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Checklist of the fishes of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 63: 9-50

Hutchins, J.B. 2008. Family Gobiesocidae. pp. 722-741 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Springer, V.G. & Fraser, T.H. 1976. Synonymy of the fish families Cheilobranchidae (=Alabetidae) and Gobiesocidae, with descriptions of two new species of Alabes. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 234: 1-23 figs 1-14

Waite, E.R. 1906. Descriptions of and notes on some South Australian and Tasmanian fishes. Records of the Australian Museum 6(3): 194-210 figs 34-36 [pl. 36(4)]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
07-Nov-2019 GOBIESOCIDAE 23-Jul-2022 MODIFIED
09-Oct-2013 GOBIESOCOIDEI 23-Jul-2022 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese
12-Feb-2010 (import)