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Species: Microgobius gulosus, Clown Goby

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

no nape crest
narrow between eyes
male: D1 filament, v long mouth
body spotted; pearl bar under D1
lower jaw: 8 canines
preoperculum 2 pores
lateral scales 44-54
scales mostly smooth

Microgobius gulosus (Girard, 1858)

Clown Goby

Head and body compressed; no crest on nape in either sex; narrow between eyes; 2 pores on preopercle, no pore between front of eyes; mouth large, ~30 degrees from horizontal, upper jaw greatly enlarged (>15% SL) in males; tip of tongue divided; no teeth on front of roof of mouth; lower jaw with 8 canines in outer row; gill membranes broadly joined to body under throat, with 5 rays; dorsal fin VII, spines III-VI produced as filaments in both sexes, longest reaching midpoint of soft-dorsal fin, only slightly elongated in females + I, 14-17 rays; length of 2nd dorsal base > distance from 2nd dorsal base to tail fin; anal fin I, 15-18 rays; pectoral fin 21-22 (19-24); pelvic fins I, 5, fused to form disc; tail fin long, oval; scales small, smooth or slightly rough; body scaled from rear forward to tip of depressed pectoral fin, head scaleless; lateral scale rows 44-54; no lateral line.

Males: Body above midline with 2-3 irregular rows of 8-9 dusky-brown blotches; body pale below midline; pearlescent vertical bar on body behind pectoral fin; head dusky with two oblique pearlescent stripes below eye, meeting at the top corner of the opercle; spinous dorsal-fin dusky with dark blotches on base of membranes over corresponding blotches on body; soft dorsal-fin with four to five dark basal blotches over corresponding blotches on body; anal-fin dusky; tail fin dusky with darker margin, and hyaline sub-marginal stripe; pectoral fins pale, mottled along base; pelvic fins dusky pale. Females: similar to males except; body blotches better defined and contrasted; spinous dorsal-fin with two to three dark blotches on base over corresponding blotches on body; soft dorsal-fin with four to five dark blotches along base over corresponding blotches on body; three irregular row of spots on inter-radial membranes and a dusky distal margin; tail-fin with four to five irregular, diagonal rows of dark spots in upper half, dusky lower half

Reaches: 7.5 cm.

Habitat: prefers muddy bottoms; occupy a wide range of salinity, though found mostly in reduced salinity and often in freshwater and estuarine habitats.

Depth: 1.5-5 m.

Maryland south throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Detritivore
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Detritus
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 7.5
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 5