Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Family: GOBIESOCIDAE, Clingfishes

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

flat head, elongate body
1 D, at rear, no spines
pelvics form large sucker with papillae



Small to moderate sized fishes (to 30 cm); head and body flattened, body elongated; eyes on upper side of head; mouth opens at front; each pelvic fin with 4 rays, joined to form the rim of a papilla-covered sucking disc in front of the belly, last ray also joins pectoral fin; a single dorsal fin (without spines), at rear of body; anal fin like dorsal fin and under it; no scales; lateral line present as pores on head only.

The pelvic disc is used to cling to rocks, weeds, sessile invertebrates, and a few species can adhere to the surface of larger fishes. Clingfishes feed on zooplankton, algae, and small benthic invertebrates.

The family occurs worldwide in tropical to warm temperate areas, in both marine and freshwater habitats, and is represented by at least 141 species in 45 genera; 31 marine species (all endemics) in four genera (one endemic) are found in our area.