Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Gobionellus oceanicus, Highfin Goby, Sharptail Goby, Slim Goby

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

eyes together, at top & front
D1 VI, elongate
large black & silvery-green ocellus under D
C very long, pointed
mouth opens at front, oblique
pelvics in disc

Gobionellus oceanicus (Pallas, 1770)

Highfin Goby, Slim Goby, Sharptail Goby

Elongate, compressed; snout sharply rounded; front nostril tubular; rear nostril a pit; large eyes, high on sides of head; between eyes narrow to moderately broad; a single pore between eyes; mouth opens at front, strongly oblique; teeth on both jaws conical, fine and numerous, 1-3 rows on top jaw (inner row may be strongly curved), 2-3 rows on bottom jaw, no large canines near front of bottom jaw; front of roof of mouth without teeth; preopercle canal with 3 pores; numerous elongate gill rakers; gill membranes broadly joined to body under throat, with 5 rays; dorsal fin VI (spines II-IV elongate) + I,13 (12-14); length of 2nd dorsal base > distance from 2nd dorsal base to tail fin; anal fin I, 14 (13-14); pectoral fin 19 (18-20); pelvic I, 5, disk complete; tail fin long and pointed; scales rough, body completely scaled, 57-89 small rough scales in lateral series; nape scaled, rest of head scaleless; no lateral line.

Light brown, darker on top of head and along bases of dorsal fins; a dark bar angled down and forwards from eye; cheek is greenish silver; lower body silvery, with fine oblique dark bars directed down and back; a large elongate, silver-green ocellated dark blotch on the trunk above the midline and under the first dorsal fin, with smaller ocellated spots before and behind it; a triangular silver patch on the gill cover; a dark blotch on pectoral fin base; a black spot on the base of the tail fin.

Reaches: 30 cm.

Habitat: Found in estuarine bays, tidal streams, brackish marshes and muddy inshore and off shore bottoms.

Depth: 0-45 m.

Virginia to Suriname.

Nota: With a sister species in Brazil, G. stomatus.

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  • Freshwater
  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 30
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 45