Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory

Gobiidae - <I>Discordipinna</I>

Gobiidae - Discordipinna












Regional Maps

External Links

CAAB: 37428000



Compiler and date details

20 October 2018 - Douglass F. Hoese & Helen K. Larson

10 April 2015 - Douglass F. Hoese & Helen K. Larson


The family Gobiidae, with 247 genera and over 1800 species (1802 currently recognised), is one of the largest fish families in the world, comprising 4.6% of all fish species. For Australia and its various territories, 100 described genera and 430 species are recorded; a further 90 species have been recorded, but as yet are undescribed or of unknown identity.

Generally, five subfamilies have been recognised, but further studies will undoubtedly change the classification considerably. The subfamily Amblyopinae includes the following genera found in Australia: Amblyotrypauchen, Caragobius, Ctenotrypauchen, Paratrypauchen and Taenioides. The second subfamily the Oxudercinae includes the following genera known from Australia: Apocryptodon, Oxucerces, Periophthalmus, Periophthalmodon and Scartelaos. Both subfamilies are normally found in muddy coastal and continental shelf environments, particularly near or in river mouths. The third subfamily includes species restricted to fresh water as adults, but which have marine larvae. The genera known from Australia include Sicyopus, Stiphodon and Sicyopterus; species usually are found in swift-flowing mountain streams that flow all year round. In Australia, only a few rivers in north-eastern Queensland have suitable habitats. The group has been discovered only recently in Australia and is now known from several species. The subfamily Gobionellinae includes genera with separate head canals between the eyes and normally two caudal epurals. More recent studies have suggested that the Amblyopinae, Oxudercinae and Sicydiinae should be contained with the Gobionellinae. Some workers have combined these in a separate family the Gobionellidae or Oxudercidae. If all are combined into a distinct family then the oldest available name is the Tridentigeridae. The subfamily or family is regarded as primitive and possibly not monophyletic. The genera are normally found in soft bottom environments in coastal areas or on the continental shelf; a few genera, such as Gnatholepis, are found on coral reefs. The remaining genera, which include most of the coral reef genera, belong to the Gobiinae. Pezold (1993) presented evidence for the monophyly of the subfamily. Because separation of these last two subfamilies requires osteological studies, and because some genera, such as Nesogobius, have mixed character states, it is currently not possible to separate all genera into the various subfamilies. Consequently, in this checklist the genera are not grouped into subfamilies. Also Thacker (2009) presented a very different classification, separating the Gobiidae into two families the Gobiidae and Gobionellidae. Tornabene et al. (2013) discussed relationships with the Gobiidae and recognised several groups and included the Kraemeriidae and Microdesmidae with the Gobiidae. Wiley & Johnson (2010) suggested that the group be treated as the Order Gobiiformes. Relationships and biology of the group are discussed in Patzner et al. (2011).

Gobies are widespread and are found in all tropical and temperate seas. They commonly live in a variety of habitats, including coral reefs, estuaries, fresh waters and the continental shelf to depths of over 900 m. Gobiids are small to medium sized, ranging from 1 to 50 cm (20 cm in Australia).

Relationships of the family have been discussed in the molecular studies mentioned above and by Hoese (1984), Akihito (1986), Birdsong et al. (1988), Harrison (1989), Hoese & Gill (1993), Pezold (1993) and Winterbottom (1993). Gill et al. (1992) presented evidence demonstrating the value of using sensory papilla patterns for determining phylogenetic relationships, but both Hoese (1983) and Hoese & Gill (1993) subsequently presented evidence questioning the value of sensory papillae in phylogenetic reconstruction.

Only a few of the genera occurring in Australia have been reviewed recently. Murdy & Hoese (1985) revised Istigobius, and Eviota was partly revised by Lachner & Karnella (1978, 1980), Karnella & Lachner (1981) and Jewett & Lachner (1983). Australian and New Guinea species of Gobiodon were studied in Munday et al. (1999). Gobiopsis was reviewed by Lachner & McKinney (1978, 1979). Larson (2001) revised Mugilogobius and Larson (2010) reviewed Redigobius. Priolepis was reviewed by Winterbottom & Burridge (1989, 1992, 1993) and Hoese & Larson (2010). Hoese & Randall (1982) revised Stonogobiops, Hoese & Larson (1994) revised Valenciennea and Winterbottom & Hoese (2015) revised Australian species of Trimma. Murdy (1989) revised mudskippers and other taxa in the subfamily Oxudercinae and Murdy (2006) revised Trypauchen. Larson & Murdy (2001) presented a key to gobiid genera from the western Pacific.

Randall (2001) revised some species of Fusigobius under the name Coryphopterus, which he considered to be a senior synonym of Fusigobius (see Randall (1995). However, molecular studies by Thacker & Cole (2002) showed the New World genus Coryphopterus to be distinct from the Indo-Pacific Fusigobius and also suggested that Fusigobius as currently recognised might not be monophyletic. Randall & Greenfield (2001) revised Gnatholepis, with one species described subsequently by Larson & Buckle (2005). Thacker (2004) presented a very different classification recognising an additional species, Gnatholepis scapulostigma Herre, 1953, from Australia. A third review (Larson & Buckle 2012) resolved the differences.

The following genera are known to occur in Australia, but the identity of the Australian species are still unknown: Aulopareia (see Smith 1945); Mangarinus (see Herre 1943); Palutrus (see Smith 1959); and Stenogobius (see Bleeker 1874). The record of Palutrus pruinosus from Darwin (Larson & Williams 1997) is a species of uncertain identity.

Gobiid fishes are frequently misidentified. Some attempt has been made to verify records, but not all records are included. Literature references are not given under species accounts where the identity of a recorded species is uncertain or a misidentification. For example, the photograph labelled Macrodontogobius wilburi in Randall et al. (1997) is Ancistrogobius dipus, a species not known from Australia and the photo is probably of an individual from Papua New Guinea.


Excluded Taxa


GOBIIDAE: Oxuderces dentatus Eydoux & Souleyet, 1848 [restricted to north of New Guinea, some museum records of Apocryptodon wirzi misidentified as Oxuderces dentatus from Australia] — Jaafar, Z. & Parenti, L.R. 2016. Systematics of the mudskipper genus Oxuderces Eydoux & Souleyet 1848 (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Oxudercinae) with resurrection from synonymy of O. nexipinnis (Cantor 1849). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 179: 21 pp. [online 7 September 2016]

GOBIIDAE: Trypauchenopsis intermedia Volz, 1903 [this species was recorded from Australia under the junior synonym Taenioides jacksoni, but the record was based on misidentified Caragobius rubristriatus] — Shibukawa, K. & Murdy, E.O. 2012. A redescription of the eel goby Trypauchenopsis (Gobiidae: Amblyopinae) with comments on relationships. Copeia 2012(3): 527-534 [527]


General References

Agorreta, A., San Mauro, D., Schliewen, U., Van Tassell, J.L., Kovačić, M., Zardoya, R. & Rüber, L. 2013. Molecular phylogenetics of Gobioidei and phylogenetic placement of European gobies. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69(3): 619–633

Akihito, P. 1986. Some morphological characters considered to be important in gobiid phylogeny. pp. 629-639 in Uyeno, T., Arai, R., Taniuchi, T. & Matsuura, K. (eds). Indo-Pacific Fish Biology. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Indo-Pacific Fishes. Tokyo : Ichthyological Society of Japan 985 pp.

Birdsong, R., Murdy, E.O. & Pezold, F.L. 1988. A study of the vertebral column and median fin osteology in gobioid fishes with comments on gobioid relationships. Bulletin of Marine Science 42(2): 174-214 figs 1-5

Day, F. 1876. The Fishes of India; being a natural history of the fishes known to inhabit the sea and fresh water of India, Burma and Ceylon. London : B. Quaritch Part 2 169-368 pp.

Gill, H.S., Bradley, F.L.S. & Miller, P.J. 1992. Validation of the use of cephalic lateral-line papillae patterns for postulating relationships among gobioid genera. Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology 106: 97-114

Harrison, I.J. 1989. Specialization of the gobioid palatopterygoquadrate complex and its relevance to gobioid systematics. Journal of Natural History 23: 325-353

Herre, A.W. 1943. Notes on fishes in the Zoological Museum of Stanford University. 11. Two new genera and species, with key to the genera of gobies with vomerine teeth. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 56: 91-96

Hoese, D.F. 1983. Sensory papilla patterns of the cheek lateralis system in the gobiid fishes Acentrogobius and Glossogobius, and their significance for the classification of gobioid fishes. Records of the Australian Museum 35: 223-229

Hoese, D.F. 1984. Gobioidei: Relationships. pp. 588-591 in Moser, H.G. et al. (eds). Ontogeny and Systematics of Fishes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Special Publication 1: 1-760

Hoese, D.F. & Gill, A. 1993. Phylogenetic relationships of eleotridid fishes (Perciformes: Gobioidei). Bulletin of Marine Science 52(1): 415-440

Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 1994. Revision of the Indo-Pacific gobiid fish genus Valenciennea, with descriptions of seven new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 23: 1-71 11 figs, 6 pls

Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 2010. Description of two new species of the genus Priolepis from the Indo-Pacific with redescription of Priolepis profunda and Priolepis psygmophilia. Ichthyological Research 57: 373-388

Hoese, D.F. & Randall, J.E. 1982. Revision of the gobiid fish genus Stonogobiops. Indo-Pacific Fishes 1: 1-18 figs 1-4 pls 1-3

Jewett, S.L. & Lachner, E.A. 1983. Seven new species of the Indo-Pacific genus Eviota (Pisces : Gobiidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 96(4): 780-806 figs 1-13

Karnella, S.J. & Lachner, E.A. 1981. Three new species of the Eviota epiphanes group having vertical trunk bars (Pisces : Gobiidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 94(1): 264-275 figs 1-6

Lachner, E.A. & Karnella, S.J. 1978. Fishes of the genus Eviota of the Red Sea with descriptions of three new species (Teleostei : Gobiidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 286: 1-23 figs 1-11

Lachner, E.A. & Karnella, S.J. 1980. Fishes of the Indo-Pacific genus Eviota with descriptions of eight new species (Teleostei : Gobiidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 315: 1-127 figs 1-66

Lachner, E.A. & McKinney, J.F. 1978. A revision of the Indo-Pacific fish genus Gobiopsis with descriptions of four new species (Pisces : Gobiidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 262: 1-52 figs 1-7 pls 1-11

Lachner, E.A. & McKinney, J.F. 1979. Two new gobiid fishes of the genus Gobiopsis and a redescription of Feia nympha Smith. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 299: 1-18 figs 1-11

Larson, H.K. 2001. A revision of the gobiid fish genus Mugilogobius (Teleostei: Gobioidei), and its systematic placement. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 62: 1-233

Larson, H.K. 2010. A review of the gobiid fish genus Redigobius (Teleostei: Gobionellinae), with descriptiions of two new species. Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwater 21(2): 123–191

Larson, H.K. & Buckle, D. 2005. A new species of the circumtropical goby genus Gnatholepis Bleeker (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Gobionellinae) from northern Australia. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 21: 67-72

Larson, H.K. & Buckle, D.J. 2012. A revision of the goby genus Gnatholepis Bleeker (Teleostei, Gobiidae, Gobionellinae), with description of a new species. Zootaxa 3529: 1–69

Larson, H.K. & Murdy, E.O. 2001. Eleotridae, Gobiidae. pp. 3574-3604 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp.

McCulloch, A.R. & Ogilby, J.D. 1919. Some Australian fishes of the family Gobiidae. Records of the Australian Museum 12(10): 193-291 figs 31-37

Munday, P.L., Harold, A.S. & Winterbottom, R.W. 1999. Guide to coral-dwelling gobies, genus Gobiodon (Gobiidae) from Papua New Guinea and the Great Barrier Reef. Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpétologie 26: 53-58

Murdy, E.O. 1989. A taxonomic revision and cladistic analysis of the oxudercine gobies (Gobiidae: Oxudercinae). Records of the Australian Museum, Supplement 11: 1-93 figs 1-98 pls 1-3

Murdy, E.O. 2006. A revision of the gobiid fish genus Trypauchen (Gobiidae: Amblyopinae). Zootaxa 1343: 55-68

Murdy, E.O. & Hoese, D.F. 1985. A revision of the gobioid fish genus Istigobius. Indo-Pacific Fishes 4: 1-41 figs 1-8 pls 1-3

Patzner, R.A., Van Tassell, J.L., Kovačić, M. & Kapoor, B.G. (eds) 2011. The Biology of Gobies. Enfield, New Hampshire : Science Publishers 685 pp.

Pezold, F.L. 1993. Evidence for a monophyletic Gobiinae. Copeia 1993(3): 634-643

Randall, J.E. 1995. Fusigobius Whitley, a junior synonym of the gobiid fish genus Coryphopterus. Bulletin of Marine Science 56(3): 795-798

Randall, J.E. 2001. Five new Indo-Pacific gobiid fishes of the genus Coryphopterus. Zoological Studies 40(3): 206-225

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E. & Greenfield, D.W. 2001. A preliminary review of the Indo-Pacific gobiid fishes of the genus Gnatholepis. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute, Grahamstown 69: 1-17

Smith, H.M. 1945. The fresh-water fishes of Siam, or Thailand. Bulletin of the United States National Museum 188: 1-622 figs 1-107 pls 1-9

Smith, J.L.B. 1959. Gobioid fishes of the families Gobiidae, Periophthalmidae, Trypauchenidae, Taenioididae and Kraemeriidae of the western Indian Ocean. Ichthyological Bulletin, Department of Ichthyology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 13: 185-225 figs 1-42 pls 9-13

Thacker, C.E. 2004. Phylogeny and species boundaries in the gobiid genus Gnatholepis (Teleostei: Perciformes). Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology 142(4): 573-582

Thacker, C.E. 2009. Phylogeny of Gobioidei and placement within Acanthomorpha, with a new classification and investigation of diversification and character evolution. Copeia 2009(1): 93–104

Thacker, C.E. & Cole, K.E. 2002. Phylogeny and evolution of the gobiid genus Coryphopterus. Bulletin of Marine Science 70(3): 837-850

Tornabene, L., Chen, Y. & Pezold, F. 2013. Gobies are deeply divided: phylogenetic evidence from nuclear DNA (Teleostei: Gobioidei: Gobiidae). Systematics and Biodiversity 11(3): 345-361

Wiley, E.O. & Johnson, G.D. 2010. A teleost classification based on monophyletic groups. pp. 123-182 in Nelson, J.S., Schultze, H.-P. & Wilson, M.V.H. Origin and Phylogenetic Interrelationships of Teleosts. München, Germany : Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil 480 pp.

Winterbottom, R. 1993. Search for the gobioid sister group (Actinopterygii: Percomorpha). Bulletin of Marine Science 52(1): 395-414

Winterbottom, R. & Burridge, M. 1989. A new species of Priolepis (Pisces: Gobiidae) from the Pacific plate, with biogeographic comments. Canadian Journal of Zoology 67: 2398-2402 figs 1-4

Winterbottom, R. & Burridge, M. 1992. Revision of Egglestonichthys and of Priolepis species possessing a transverse pattern of cheek papillae (Teleostei; Gobiidae), with a discussion of relationships. Canadian Journal of Zoology 70: 1934-1946

Winterbottom, R. & Burridge, M. 1993. Revision of the species of Priolepis possessing a reduced transverse pattern of cheek papillae and no predorsal scales (Teleostei; Gobiidae). Canadian Journal of Zoology 71: 494-514 figs 1-24

Winterbottom, R. & Hoese, D.F. 2015. A revision of the Australian species of Trimma (Actinopterygii, Gobiidae), with descriptions of six new species and redescriptions of twenty-three valid species. Zootaxa 3934: 1-102


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 GOBIIDAE 21-Sep-2022 MODIFIED
04-Dec-2018 GOBIOIDEI 21-Sep-2022 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese
14-May-2015 GOBIOIDEI 21-Sep-2022 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese
12-Feb-2010 (import)