MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Leopard-spotted goby (Thorogobius ephippiatus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

The leopard-spotted goby is around 12-13 cm long. It is a pale fawn or light brown colour, with distinctive orange, red or black spots all over its head and body. It has two dorsal fins, with a distinctive black spot at the rear of the first dorsal fin. The eyes are close set near the top of the head and the mouth has the characteristic thick lips of the goby family. Some individuals may have a whitish edge to the dorsal and anal fins.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Wide-spread around the coasts of England except for the east coast most likely due to a lack of suitable habitat.

Global distribution

-

Habitat

Lives in fissures of steep rock faces inshore or a short distance offshore. They also live in sheltered estuaries and sea lochs. Their depth distribution ranges from low water of spring tides to about 40 m. Some individuals may be found in deeper rockpools.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Light brown with orange, red or black spots all over the head and body.
  • A black spot on the rear of the first dorsal fin.
  • Around 12-13 cm in length.
  • Mouth has characteristic thick lips.
  • Close set eyes near the top of the head.

Additional information

The leopard-spotted goby is a shy and retiring species. It is normally found by divers on the ledges in front of their home cave or fissure, or at the base of a large stable boulder with underboulder holes available for cover. They prefer shady, darker areas and feed mainly on small amphipod crustaceans and worms.

The fish is not caught by remote methods and, when the species was first found by divers in the Plymouth area in 1956, it was thought to be new to science and is listed as Gobius sp. in the Plymouth Marine Fauna (MBA, 1957).

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Dipper, F., 2001. British sea fishes (2nd edn). Teddington: Underwater World Publications Ltd.

  2. FishBase, 2000. FishBase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line] http://www.fishbase.org, 2001-05-03

  3. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  4. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  5. MBA (Marine Biological Association), 1957. Plymouth Marine Fauna. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

  6. Wheeler, A., 1969. The fishes of the British Isles and north-west Europe. London: Macmillan.

  7. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Citation

This review can be cited as:

MacDougall, C.A. 2002. Thorogobius ephippiatus Leopard-spotted goby. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1836

Last Updated: 20/11/2002