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Species: Microgobius signatus, Signal Goby

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

nape crest - both sexes
lower head orange + oblique blue stripes
narrow pearl, black-edged bar under origin D1
top end tail base: black spot
preoperculum - 3 pores
D1 19-20; A 20
lateral scales 77-90
scales mostly smooth

Microgobius signatus Poey, 1876

Signal Goby

Head and body compressed; a fleshy crest on nape in both sexes; 3 pores on preopercle, no pore between front of eyes; mouth large, inclined at 45 degrees; tip of tongue divided; no teeth on front of roof of mouth; lower jaw with 4-5 enlarged teeth in outer row; gill membranes broadly joined to body under throat, with 5 rays; dorsal fin VII, 1st spine elongate in females not males, + I, 19-20 rays; length of 2nd dorsal base > distance from 2nd dorsal base to tail fin; anal fin I, 20 (occasionally 19) rays; pectoral fin 19-22; pelvic fins I, 5, fused to form disc; tail fin long, oval; scales small, mostly smooth; body scaled from rear forward to tip of depressed pectoral fin, head scaleless; lateral scale rows range 77-90; no lateral line.

Males: body uniformly light brown; head with two pale blue stripes; top of body along dorsal-fin base with 8-10 short, dark lines; a small dark spot on upper tail fin base; a vertical pale bar with darkened borders extending from the front of first dorsal fin to the pectoral fin; dorsal fins with reddish base, yellow center and pale blue submarginal stripes; tail fin reddish, with upper and lower yellow stripes. Female similar, but lower tail base pale greenish-yellow running into stripe of the same color on the tail; upper tail with yellow spots.

Reaches: 6.0 cm.

Depth: 1-10 m.

Habitat: sandy bottom areas around islands and coasts.

Cuba to the S Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Benthic
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Caribbean endemic
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 6
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 10