Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Gobiesox cephalus, Riverine Clingfish, Smooth Clingfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

weak head papillae, top lip none
nostril flap small, divided
D 8-10; pectoral 19-22
dense dark spots in pale mesh
sucker papillae: front 7 rows, center patches 4-5 rows

Gobiesox cephalus Lacepede, 1800

Riverine Clingfish, Smooth Clingfish

Tadpole shaped, head long, depressed, with poorly developed sensory papillae, none on top lip edge or on snout above top lip; front nostril with a small, 2 lobed flap; rear nostril tubular, before front edge of eye; top lip broad, much wider at front than at sides; top jaw with 4-5 pairs of rounded incisors at front, a deep patch of conical teeth behind those, with small canines on sides; lower jaw with 1 row of teeth, 5-7, round pointed incisors at front, weak canines at the side; 1 dorsal fin, at rear, no spines, relatively short based 9 (8-10), much closer to tail fin base than to pectoral base; anal fin 7 (6-8), like dorsal fin and under it; pectoral fin 21 (19-22), a large fleshy pad with free rear edge at base of fin, free rear edge of that pad extends above to level of upper gill membrane attachment; sucker large, with papillae at front (a broad band, 7 rows deep), center (2 well separated patches, each with 4-5 rows of papillae) & a band at rear; anus much nearer sucker than anal fin origin, well before dorsal fin origin; no scales; lateral line present as pores on head only.

Base color light grey-brown with close-set dark spots on a pale meshwork; a dark brown spot at front of dorsal fin base.

Mottled grey-brown, with tiny pale spots; a dark spot at front of dorsal fin.

Reaches 15 cm.

Primarily freshwater, but also occurs in brackish water.

Depth range: 0-2 m?

Cuba to the S Caribbean.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Non Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
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
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 15
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 2