Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Microgobius brevispinis, Balboa goby, Short-spine goby

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

nape with crest
D spines short
under D1: male: dark spot + blue bar; female: yellow bar
D2 yellow stripe
pelvics black + white margin
body scales smooth
C: central red stripe, red dots above

Microgobius brevispinis Ginsburg, 1939

Balboa Goby, Short-spine Goby

Head and body compressed; fleshy crest on nape in both sexes; 2-3 pores on preopercle; mouth large, nearly vertical; 6-7 pairs of large canines on lower jaws; tip of tongue divided; dorsal fin VII (spines relatively short) + I, 16-19 rays; anal I, 16-19 rays; pectoral fin relatively short (22% of SL), 19-22 rays; tail fin long, oval or pointed (in males); pelvics fused to form disc; all scales smooth, from below 3rd dorsal spine rearwards on body,63-81 lateral rows.

Both sexes: grey brown, base of tail (behind anus) paler than body; three oblique blue bars separated by orange on operculum; two blue spots separated by orange on pectoral base; pelvics blackish, with white margin. Male: a dark blotch with a blue bar behind it under anterior dorsal spines; back behind anus with a blue stripe above, and (sometimes) 2 orange spots below; first dorsal with a black spot on first spine, red outer margin; second dorsal dusky, with red spots at lower rear and a yellow oblique central stripe; tail fin with red spots above, a red central stripe and yellow below; anal fin dusky. Female: intense orange bar bounded in front by blue bar and two orange spots on body under the first dorsal fin; a short blue bar on midside just behind anus.

Size: 8.2 cm.

Habitat: beaches and tide pools with muddy shell bottoms in estuaries.

Depth: 0-6 m.

Southern Baja and the eastern Gulf of California to Panama.

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  • Non Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Mud
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Planktivore
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Pelagic fish larvae
  • No Data
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Benthic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent
  • All species
  • 3 provinces (Cortez + Mexican + Panamic) endemic
  • Continent only
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 8.2
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 6