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Related FAQs: Gobies & their RelativesFresh and Brackish Gobioids,

Related Articles: True/Combtooth GobiesDartfishes (family Microdesmidae), Psychedelic "Gobies"/Mandarins/Dragonets (family Callionymidae)Fresh to Brackish Water Gobioids,

/The Conscientious Reef Aquarist

Gobioid Fishes, and Ones Just Called Gobies!

Bob Fenner

Amblygobius semicinctus, 

Defined by arcane skeletal make-up, a lack or reduction (of unneeded due to their bottom living) lateralis networks, lack of swim bladders, gill membranes joined at their base (isthmus)... A large assemblage: eight families, some 268 genera with more than 2,100 described species, about two hundred of which are entirely freshwater. 

And as happens all too often, there are a few "other" groups of fishes that some label as "gobies"...

Family Gobiidae, the Combtooth Gobies

Marine, freshwater, brackish. The largest family of fishes, with about 212 genera and some 1,875 described species, including the worlds smallest fish/invertebrate species. 

Genus Brachygobius, Bumble Bee Gobies, follow this link to the brackish and freshwater Gobioids.

Firefishes, Dartfishes, Family Microdesmidae, Subfamily Ptereleotrinae: Not really "True" Gobies, but called Dart Gobies by some...

These fishes are amongst the most distinctive and desired gobies, with their characteristic body shape, bright colors and flicking dorsal fins. There are two top fins, the first sporting six spines, the second with one spiny ray and four or five soft rays. There are four genera of about thirty described species.

Nemateleotris helfrichi in captivity.

Mandarin "Gobies", Dragonets, Psychedelic "Gobies"

Called gobies, the Dragonets are actually part of an adjacent Suborder (the Callionymoidei). The eighteen genera and about 130 species are typified by small gill openings, having broad, depressed heads, scaleless bodies and two dorsal fins... Living on the bottom with a characteristic "scooting" type of locomotion. Pterosynchiropus splendidus in captivity.

Bibliography/Further Reading: (See sub-groups pages for their bibliographies)

Goby Groups In General:

Baensch, Hans A. & Helmut Debelius. 1994. Marine Atlas, vol.1. MERGUS, Germany.

Brown, Stanley. 1996. Gobies. V.4, #1 96 The J. of Maquaculture, The Breeder's Registry.

Burgess, Warren E. 1975. Salts from the seven seas; gobies. TFH 2/75.

Burgess, Warren E., Herbert R. Axelrod & Raymond E. Hunziker. 1990. Atlas of Aquarium Fishes, vol. 1, Marine Fishes. T.F.H. Publ., NJ.

Colin, Patrick. 1975. The green band goby (Gobiosoma). Aquarium Digest International 3:3, 75.

Damian, Sorin. 1993. Breeding behavior of the sand goby, Pomatoschistus (Bubyr) caucasius. FAMA 2/93. Cold water example.

Delbeek, Charles & Scott W. Michael. 1993. The substrate sifting Gobies: Fishes that earn their keep. AFM 5/93.

Fenner, Bob. 1999. Gobies. Notes for the new saltwater hobbyist. FAMA 9/99.

Hunziker, Raymond E. 1985. Gobies for freshwater and brackish aquaria. TFH 12/85.

Nelson, Joseph S. 1994. fishes of the World, 3rd ed. John Wiley & Sons, NY. For systematic reviews.

Coral Gobies, Genus Gobiodon

Debelius, Helmut. 1986. Gobies in the marine aquarium, pt. 3: Coral gobies. Today's Aquarium 1/86.

Esterhaus, Hans. 1995. The citron goby, Gobiodon citrinus. TFH 12/95.


new Gobioid phylogeny       8/9/15
Hello Bob,
Here is a PDF of the preprint. It is not yet typeset, but when the “real” one is available to us I will send it along to you.
Master of Saybrook College
Associate Professor and Curator
Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Peabody Museum of Natural History
Yale University
New Haven, CT 06520 USA
<Again, my thanks to you. BobF>

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