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FAQs on Clown Gobies Identification

Related Articles: Genus Gobiodon Gobies,

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Unknown clown goby   12/6/09
I couldn't find this Clown Goby on your site(or the internet), so I'm hoping that your knowledge and research skills will help us out(as usual.)
We received it as a Green Clown Goby. Is it a morph, possibly?
<Mmm, maybe. Of the valid species listed, pictured on Fishbase.org for the genus Gobiodon:
G. rivulatus is about my best guess:
Could be a regional variation, a morph as you state.
Is a beauty! Bob Fenner>

Strange clown goby ID -- 04/20/09
Hello, Ladies and Gents!
I purchased a clown goby today at the LFS, which apparently arrived with the "regular" green clown gobies. I was wondering if you could help me ID this fish from the attached photo (the white dots on the fish are tiny air bubbles from the freshwater dip I was doing). I am assuming it is just a different color morph, but I have not been able to find any pictures of any that look like this. It almost looks like it is halfway in between a yellow and a green, with the characteristics of both.
Thank you much!
<Greetings. Looks like Gobiodon citrinus, in particularly the humeral spot (the black spot above the pectoral fin) and the alternating light and dark bands between the eye and gill covers. Do look here:
Click on the photo at top right to see more images.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Strange clown goby ID 4/20/2009
Thank you so much for the quick reply. My first inclination was a Citron goby as well, but the pictures just don't match up.
Mine doesn't have any of the white/turquoise striping along the dorsal area or on the gill plates.
<Agreed, but the oblique striping is there, and the colour variation could reflect age, stress, geographical provenance. This species is the Clown Goby of the UK marine trade, and fairly variable.
The only light stripes are right through its eye. The Citron gobies also don't seem to have any red on them at all. Rather, this little guy has symmetrical red dots along the dorsal area instead, as well as on its gill
plates and eye stripe. You can't see in the first picture very well, but the very edge of his tail also has a reddish orange tinge that fades into the yellow.
<Do also look at G. reticulatus, here:
It does have the red/blue cheek markings, but lacks the humeral spot.
Compare this with G. okinawae, the Clown Goby of the US trade, here:
This fish doesn't have any markings of any kind, so far as I can tell.>
Where the red markings occur on this fish, it looks similar to the markings on my regular green clown gobies. Is it possible for there to be a hybrid of the two species?
<Gobiodon citrinus and Gobiodon okinawae might occur in the same places, e.g. Southern Japan, if Fishbase is anything to go by, but G. reticulatus is found far to the west of those two more easterly fish, so wouldn't hybridise with either.>
<<Could indeed be a hybrid. RMF>>
I have attached a different photo showing a view from above to help explain a little better. The colors are more intense in this photo, I think because it was when I had first put him in the freshwater bath and he wasn't as stressed!
Thanks again,
<Bob may instantly recognise this fish when he or someone else from the marine team checks in; in the meantime, do peruse the options at Fishbase, here:
That link should take you straight to the Gobiodon species listing.
Cheers, Neale>
<<My best guess, and this is all it is, would be either a G. histrio or a
hybrid. A beautiful Gobiodon specimen in all cases. BobF>>  

Re: Strange clown goby ID 04/21/09
Hi again!
I just wanted to let you know that I got a positive ID on my clown goby. He is actually Gobiodon atrangulatus (no common name).
This link shows a photo
<Emily, that's great news! What fun to have a goby even Bob Fenner has never seen! Cheers, Neale.><<Neat! RMF>>

Mysterious clown goby, with a furry head! -- 03/18/09
<Hi C.>
After much Googling and posting on various reef boards I've decided to see if anyone at WWM can help figure out what type of goby I acquired today.
<Will try.>
He was ordered online as a green clown goby, yet when he arrived I was surprised to see he was a solid highlighter green color (for lack of better definition, he is the color of the soda Mountain Dew) with not a spec of red on him. Although the color is off due to my flash a bit I believe you can still get a pretty good idea of his coloration, definitely not a yellow clown goby (I have one of them as well, vastly different shade). To top this, he has a "furry" head, really no better way to describe it other then to say it's furry/fuzzy. Doesn't appear to be any sort of disease and seems very healthy. I'm attaching several photos. The distributor told me he was part of a shipment from Kenya if that's helpful at all.
<Yes, very useful.>
For now we're simply referring to him as "Dewy" Thanks for any assistance. C. Daitch.
<C. your 'Dewy' is a Emerald coral goby Paragobiodon xanthosomus. The elongate flaps on top of head of adults in combination with origin and colour are typical for this species. It's almost exclusively among branches of Seriatopora hystrix, if you have none of them you may want to think about getting one for the goby. They usually occur in pairs, too bad you only got one. Marco.>

Panda coral goby Hello, I am interested in a Panda coral goby but I have found no info on how to care for them. <Never heard of this common name... nor has Fishbase.org... is this a Gobiodon species? I would like to know what they eat? What do they use as shelter? How hard are they to keep? What kinds of special needs do they have? And any other info you can think of that can help me make a decision about whether I should try to keep one or not. Thanks for your help. Chris Shaw <Chris... see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/gobiodon.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> 

Panda Clown Goby? 7/26/05 Hey crew! <Hey, Mike G with you this afternoon.> How's everything this fine Saturday evening? Me and my wet friends are doing great. <Good to hear.> Anyway, on to the question: I found this goby (Paragobius lacunicolus) at Live Aquaria. They state it as a clown goby though I'm not so sure it is. They list it as a difficult specimen, though most clown gobies seem hardy. They don't list why it is supposedly difficult and I can't find any information on WWM or fishbase.org. Has anyone there had any experience with this fish or know it's true identity? Thanks for the help with this peculiar fish. http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?pCatId=2230 <Well, LiveAquaria lists the creature as a Paragobius species, whereas the Clown Gobies we know of are Gobiodon species. So, it is not technically a Clown Goby, just a fish that looks like one.> As always, thanks for any help, <No problem, Mike G> Nick

Re: Panda Clown Goby? 7/27/05 Yeah, I thought that clown gobies were only from Gobiodon. <Technically.> So, it isn't really a clown goby, but is there anywhere I can find out about this guy? <I searched around for you, but came up blank so far.> It's the first time I can't find anything on Fishbase or WWM. <Ditto.> I don't want to get a fish that is considered difficult that almost no one has any experience with. <Why not be the one to first keep and share their experiences with it?> That seems to be an exercise in futility. <No, just inconvenience.> Thanks, Nick <Mike G>

Encountered a "new" clown goby in the LFS (for Mr. Fenner)  9/19.5/05 This is in reference to the "five-lined coral goby" Gobiodon quinquestrigatus.  He's not mentioned on your web site.  I saw this beautiful guy hiding with the other clown gobies in the LFS.  He's now happily living with green and yellow clown gobies in my nano. Most of the people who worked at the LFS were as surprised to see him as I was!  General reaction (mine too) was "they come in orange?" http://www.fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=22462 Apparently (from the posted photos) these guys, like their citron cousins, come in a range of colors.  Mine varies from orange to pink to purple-ish depending on light and mood.  Just lovely.  You may want to make reference to them on your Gobiodon page, especially if they are being collected more frequently. Thanks for all of the wonderful info!  You've spared me much head-and heart-ache (and probably saved many fish-lives). <Thank you Dan.  James (Salty Dog)> Dan <<Thank you for this Dan. Bob Fenner, back from MACNA... and trying to catch up>>

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