Where Do Goby Fish Come From?

There are numerous species of fish. And I’m sure you can easily name several of them from the top of your head! But have you ever heard of a goby fish?

One of the most unique types of fish, there are over 2,000 different species of gobies. Here are some fascinating facts about these fun fish!

The Goby Fish: An Introduction

Goby fish are part of the Gobiidae family.  Goby fish are small (usually not exceeding 12 inches, often as small as 4 inches) and are carnivores. They are found all over the world in a variety of sea bodies from coastal reefs to swamps. They are often brightly colored and have a shiny appearance.

With regard to diet, they can eat the parasites found in larger fish. They also consume mussels, insects, and plankton. They themselves can be eaten by larger fish and birds!  

When goby fish want to ‘settle’ they often hide in a burrow in the mud or in the sand. Some goby fish and shrimp live together! The blind goby (from California) share burrows with Callianassa (ghost shrimp.) Goby fish can use their fins to attach themselves to rocks on the ocean floor. goby fish

The Goby Fish: The Uniqueness

There are several unique aspects of the goby fish. Like most species, it is the males who seek the females for mating. This usually happens during the warm season. Females prefer larger males and males often mate with more than one female goby fish. After females fertilize the eggs, they are kept attached to rocks and the males guard them until the larvae emerge. Usually it only takes up to 2 years for goby fish to become sexually mature. Goby fish are also able to change their gender. More often females change to males when stronger males in a group die out.

Gobies in tropical waters live longer than gobies in temperate waters. The former group of goby fish can live up to a decade.

One particularly aggressive type of goby is the round goby. Considered an invasive species, they are able to eat eggs from other goby males. They eat many aquatic insects and even some snails. 

The Goby Fish: More Types

While there are a multitude of types of goby fish, here are a few which particularly stand out:

  • The pygmy goby found in the Philippines is a mere 13 millimeters long. This makes it one of the world’s smallest vertebrates.
  • The neon goby found in the Caribbean is one of the goby fish who eats the parasites from larger fishes. This is done not simply for its own diet but also as a ‘duty’ to the larger fish. It is a goby which has a distinct relationship to other animals.
  • The mudskippers are amphibians and are found in the Eastern Atlantic and Indo-Pacific regions. When on land they live in mudflats.

And of course Goby fish can be kept in your very own aquarium! A common goby fish kept as a pet is a mandarin fish. These smaller gobies are easy to maintain and can be fed with plankton and with small shrimp.

Tell A Friend

You’ve now got the goby fish to add to your list of fish names. Why not impress your pals with your newfound knowledge on the goby fish? And perhaps next time you are exploring the world’s oceans, you’ll spot a goby fish or two!


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