Sand goby (Pomatoschistus minutus)

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

Summary

Description

The sand goby is a small goby, reaching a maximum of 10 cm in length. It has a slender body and the head is about a quarter of the total length. It is pale brown or grey in colour with darker markings on the sides. The underside is creamy-white in colour. Males often have a prominent dark blue spot on the rear of the first dorsal fin.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

The sand goby is abundant along all British and Irish coasts.

Global distribution

Its distribution extends from the eastern Atlantic (Tromso, Norway) to the Mediterranean and areas of the Baltic Sea.

Habitat

Pomatoschistus minutus is found on sandy or muddy bottoms usually to a depth of about 20 m, but sometimes occurring up to 60-70 m depths. They are usually present in estuaries, lagoons, salt marshes and along coastal waters.

Depth range

Up to 20 m (sometimes up to 60-70 m)

Identifying features

  • The sand goby has large eyes that are positioned high on the side of the head.
  • There are scales present on the nape and neck.
  • Upper rays of pectoral fins have membrane to their tips.
  • Tail is rounded, narrow and long.
  • Pelvic fins are united to form a crescent-shaped disc.
  • Anterior dorsal fin has 6-7 spines.
  • Posterior dorsal fin has 1 spine and 10-12 rays.
  • There are 55-75 scales in a line from base of pectoral fin to tail fin.

Additional information

Pomatoschistus minutus is a very abundant fish which is present along all British and Irish coasts. Its distribution extends from the eastern Atlantic (Tromso, Norway) to the Mediterranean and to areas of the Baltic Sea. Pomatoschistus minutus is a spawning and thermal migratory species. It is usually found on sandy or muddy bottoms to a depth of about 20 m, but may occur up to 60-70 m depths.

Pomatoschistus minutus is sometimes considered to form a species complex with Pomatoschistus norvegicus and Pomatoschistus lozanoi. Pomatoschistus lozanoi is morphologically intermediate between the other forms and may interbreed with them in the wild (Webb, 1980). However, evidence suggests that back-crossing of the resultant hybrids does not occur and Pomatoschistus lozanoi is genetically distinct from the other forms (Webb, 1980).

Biology review

Taxonomy

LevelScientific nameCommon name
PhylumChordata
ClassActinopterygii
OrderGobiiformes
FamilyGobiidae
GenusPomatoschistus
Authority(Pallas, 1770)
Recent Synonyms

Biology

ParameterData
Typical abundanceHigh density
Male size rangeup to 10cm
Male size at maturity4cm
Female size range4cm
Female size at maturity
Growth formPisciform
Growth rateNo information found
Body flexibilityHigh (greater than 45 degrees)
Mobility
Characteristic feeding methodPredator
Diet/food source
Typically feeds onSmall polychaetes, cumaceans, amphipods and mysids.
Sociability
Environmental positionDemersal
DependencyIndependent.
SupportsNone
Is the species harmful?No

Biology information

  • The sand goby usually remains inactive, except when feeding (Fonds & Veldhuis, 1973). Pomatoschistus minutus feeds on small polychaetes, cumaceans, amphipods and mysids. Depending on the bottom type, it has been noted to show colour adaptations (Aquascope, 2000b), and has also been noted to burrow into the sediment to avoid predators (Magnhagen & Forsgren, 1991).
  • The sand goby is a small goby, reaching a maximum of 10 cm in length. Males are generally longer than females (Quignard et al., 1983). Growth is slower in winter in the Atlantic, and slower in the summer in the Mediterranean (Quignard et al., 1983). Larvae gradually spend more and more time on the bottom, and at a length of approximately 17-18 mm they are usually fully adapted to the benthic way of life.
  • Although of no commercial importance itself, it is incidentally caught in abundance in French Mediterranean lagoons (Quignard et al., 1983).

Habitat preferences

ParameterData
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast, Estuary, Isolated saline water (Lagoon), Enclosed coast or Embayment
Biological zone preferencesLower infralittoral, Sublittoral fringe, Upper infralittoral
Substratum / habitat preferencesCoarse clean sand, Fine clean sand, Mixed, Mud, Muddy sand, Sandy mud
Tidal strength preferences
Wave exposure preferencesExposed, Moderately exposed, Sheltered
Salinity preferencesFull (30-40 psu), Variable (18-40 psu)
Depth rangeUp to 20 m (sometimes up to 60-70 m)
Other preferencesNo text entered
Migration PatternSeasonal (environment), Seasonal (reproduction)

Habitat Information

  • The sand goby is considered to be an abundant species, found along all coasts of the British Isles. It can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and salinities, shown by its distribution from Norway and the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean, and the fact that it resides in brackish and fully saline waters. It is usually found in deeper waters and at higher salinities than Pomatoschistus microps.
  • Fonds (1973) showed that adult sand gobies tolerate salinities between 0.9 psu and 45 psu and that they survived and remained in good condition at a temperature as low as 2 °C. However, in the Thames estuary they preferred high salinity and high suspended solids concentrations (Araújo et al., 2000).
  • Pomatoschistus minutus is a migratory species of semi-enclosed lagoon-like environments (Pampoulie et al., 1999). It has been noted to undertake spawning migrations in the Mediterranean Sea (Bouchereau et al., 1989) and thermal migrations in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea (Fonds, 1973; Hesthagen, 1977). Thermal migrations occur when temperatures decrease below 4-5 °C (Fonds, 1973) or increase above 19 °C (Hesthagen, 1977). In the Thames estuary an increase in numbers has been noted during autumn and winter (Araújo et al., 2000). In the Severn estuary, however, goby numbers declined in winter. This was suspected to have reflected a movement away from the shallows and towards deeper, warmer water (Claridge et al., 1985). Healey (1971) observed a scarcity of sand gobies in the Ythan estuary from February to June and, after eliminating decreased temperature, a change in salinity or a change in food supply as a cause, suggested that it was a result of a seasonal migration. Healey (1971) hypothesized that the gobies migrated out to sea so that eggs could develop, however, the hypothesis was subsequently rejected.

Life history

Adult characteristics

ParameterData
Reproductive typeGonochoristic (dioecious)
Reproductive frequency Annual protracted
Fecundity (number of eggs)1,000-10,000
Generation time1-2 years
Age at maturity7 months to a year old
SeasonFebruary - July
Life span1-2 years

Larval characteristics

ParameterData
Larval/propagule type-
Larval/juvenile development Oviparous
Duration of larval stage2-10 days
Larval dispersal potential Greater than 10 km
Larval settlement periodInsufficient information

Life history information

  • The sand goby becomes sexually mature at about 7 months to a year old (Miller, 1986; Bouchereau et al., 1990). At this time, individuals measure approximately 4 cm (Bouchereau et al., 1990). Reproduction involves repeat spawning between February and May in Britain, and March to July in the Baltic Sea (Miller, 1986). The female usually lays her eggs under empty bivalve shells and the male proceeds to guard them. Males care for approximately 2 egg batches at the same time, belonging to different females (Kvarnemo, 1994), and females respawn with an interval of about 1 to 2 weeks (Kvarnemo, 1998). Fecundity is reported as between 2,878 - 3,000 eggs by Miller (1986) and between 998 and 5100 by Bouchereau et al. (1990).
  • Pomatoschistus minutus spawns at 8 to 15 °C, lower than that of the Pomatoschistus microps (Wiederholm, 1987). In the Atlantic reproduction is protracted (Bouchereau & Guelorget, 1998; Rogers, 1989) and in the Mediterranean it is contracted (Bouchereau & Guelorget, 1998).
  • The lifespan of the sand goby is approximately 1.3 to 2 years (Miller, 1986). Quignard et al. (1983) recorded lifespans of the sand goby as 12 to 14 months in the Mediterranean and up to 22 months in the Atlantic.

Sensitivity reviewHow is sensitivity assessed?

Physical pressures

Use / to open/close text displayed

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence / Confidence
Substratum loss [Show more]

Substratum loss

Benchmark. All of the substratum occupied by the species or biotope under consideration is removed. A single event is assumed for sensitivity assessment. Once the activity or event has stopped (or between regular events) suitable substratum remains or is deposited. Species or community recovery assumes that the substratum within the habitat preferences of the original species or community is present. Further details

Evidence

Adult Pomatoschistus minutus live on inshore sandy and muddy substrata in open coastal areas, whereas juveniles are found in lower estuaries. The sand goby has been noted to show colour adaptations, depending on the bottom type (Aquascope, 2000), and has also been noted to burrow into the sediment when under attack (Magnhagen & Forsgren, 1991). Their substratum is therefore important to them for the purpose of protection. Loss of substrata may cause a proportion of the species to die. However, adults are sufficiently mobile and will be able to recolonize areas which contain suitable substrata. A low intolerance to substratum loss is recorded. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Low High Low Moderate
Smothering [Show more]

Smothering

Benchmark. All of the population of a species or an area of a biotope is smothered by sediment to a depth of 5 cm above the substratum for one month. Impermeable materials, such as concrete, oil, or tar, are likely to have a greater effect. Further details.

Evidence

Pomatoschistus minutus will not be affected by smothering as they are mobile and able to swim away. However, destruction of habitat is important. Cordone & Kelley (1961) reported that (in a freshwater habitat) deposition of sediment on the bottom of the substratum would destroy needed shelter, reduce the availability of food, impair growth and lower the survival rate of eggs and larvae of fish. It is likely that, due to the ability of adult Pomatoschistus minutus to burrow into the sediment, they will only be slightly intolerant of smothering. However, if smothering occurred during the breeding season destruction of broods of eggs is possible. Materials such as concrete, oil or tar are likely to have a greater negative impact on the population. An intermediate intolerance to smothering has been recorded. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Intermediate High Low Moderate
Increase in suspended sediment [Show more]

Increase in suspended sediment

Benchmark. An arbitrary short-term, acute change in background suspended sediment concentration e.g., a change of 100 mg/l for one month. The resultant light attenuation effects are addressed under turbidity, and the effects of rapid settling out of suspended sediment are addressed under smothering. Further details

Evidence

Moore (1977) indicated that an increase in siltation can have a negative effect on the growth of adult fish, survival of eggs and larvae and pathological effects on gill epithelia. However, bottom-dwelling species are generally found to be tolerant of suspended solids and juveniles have been reported as being more intolerant of siltation than adults (Moore, 1977). Araújo et al. (2000) found that Pomatoschistus minutus was preferentially found in areas of high suspended sediment in the Thames estuary. On balance, tolerant has been suggested with a low confidence.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Low
Decrease in suspended sediment [Show more]

Decrease in suspended sediment

Benchmark. An arbitrary short-term, acute change in background suspended sediment concentration e.g., a change of 100 mg/l for one month. The resultant light attenuation effects are addressed under turbidity, and the effects of rapid settling out of suspended sediment are addressed under smothering. Further details

Evidence

No information
Desiccation [Show more]

Desiccation

  1. A normally subtidal, demersal or pelagic species including intertidal migratory or under-boulder species is continuously exposed to air and sunshine for one hour.
  2. A normally intertidal species or community is exposed to a change in desiccation equivalent to a change in position of one vertical biological zone on the shore, e.g., from upper eulittoral to the mid eulittoral or from sublittoral fringe to lower eulittoral for a period of one year. Further details.

Evidence

Pomatoschistus minutus is found in inshore coastal waters. The animal is soft-bodied, so stranding of the individual, and subsequent exposure to sunshine and air for an hour would more than likely result in a proportion of the population dying. This event, however, is unlikely to occur as the sand goby is sufficiently mobile to avoid this situation and can burrow into the sediment to survive low water levels. In an experiment designed to investigate the ecological importance of the sand goby, Jaquet & Raffaelli (1989) set up cages on an intertidal mudflat in the Ythan estuary. They reported that the gobies were apparently unaffected by the presence or absence of water and that many of the fish were entirely buried at the sediment surface. Intolerance to desiccation has therefore been assessed as low. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Low High Low Moderate
Increase in emergence regime [Show more]

Increase in emergence regime

Benchmark. A one hour change in the time covered or not covered by the sea for a period of one year. Further details

Evidence

It is unlikely that Pomatoschistus minutus would be affected by a change in the emergence regime as it is sufficiently mobile to avoid its effects.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Moderate
Decrease in emergence regime [Show more]

Decrease in emergence regime

Benchmark. A one hour change in the time covered or not covered by the sea for a period of one year. Further details

Evidence

No information
Increase in water flow rate [Show more]

Increase in water flow rate

A change of two categories in water flow rate (view glossary) for 1 year, for example, from moderately strong (1-3 knots) to very weak (negligible). Further details

Evidence

It is unlikely that the sand goby could withstand a large increase in water flow rate, as this would decrease its ability to feed, migrate and reproduce. However, it is sufficiently mobile to avoid effects and so intolerance is assessed as low.
Low Very high Very Low Low
Decrease in water flow rate [Show more]

Decrease in water flow rate

A change of two categories in water flow rate (view glossary) for 1 year, for example, from moderately strong (1-3 knots) to very weak (negligible). Further details

Evidence

No information
Increase in temperature [Show more]

Increase in temperature

  1. A short-term, acute change in temperature; e.g., a 5°C change in the temperature range for three consecutive days. This definition includes ‘short-term’ thermal discharges.
  2. A long-term, chronic change in temperature; e.g. a 2°C change in the temperature range for a year. This definition includes ‘long term’ thermal discharges.

For intertidal species or communities, the range of temperatures includes the air temperature regime for that species or community. Further details

Evidence

The geographical distribution of Pomatoschistus minutus extends from the north-eastern Atlantic (Tromso, Norway) to the Mediterranean and areas of the Baltic Sea. Pomatoschistus minutus populations in southern waters are therefore exposed to warmer waters, and those in northern waters are exposed to colder waters. Long term increases in temperature due to climate warming would be unlikely to have an effect on the population.
As temperature is important in determining the distribution of the sand goby (e.g. winter migration), Wiederholm, (1987) suggested that a cold summer may reduce the population density and a series of cold years may wipe out the northernmost population. During the severe winter of 1962-63 there was heavy mortality of observed populations of Gobius paganellus, Gobius minutus and Gobius flavens (Crisp (ed.), 1964). Therefore a decrease in temperature may affect populations in the British Isles, by either shifting the geographical distribution further southwards towards warmer waters, or killing a proportion of the northern-most population.
Furthermore, temperature could also have an effect on the time and duration of the breeding season. For example, Pomatoschistus minutus spawns at 8 to 15 °C. Therefore, temperatures outside this range would decrease the ability of the species to spawn, and also decrease the hatching success rate of their eggs. Sensitivity to a temperature increase is recorded as low, whereas a decrease in temperature is likely to cause a proportion of the population to die and is therefore recorded as intermediate. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Intermediate High Low Moderate
Decrease in temperature [Show more]

Decrease in temperature

  1. A short-term, acute change in temperature; e.g., a 5°C change in the temperature range for three consecutive days. This definition includes ‘short-term’ thermal discharges.
  2. A long-term, chronic change in temperature; e.g. a 2°C change in the temperature range for a year. This definition includes ‘long term’ thermal discharges.

For intertidal species or communities, the range of temperatures includes the air temperature regime for that species or community. Further details

Evidence

No information
Increase in turbidity [Show more]

Increase in turbidity

  1. A short-term, acute change; e.g., two categories of the water clarity scale (see glossary) for one month, such as from medium to extreme turbidity.
  2. A long-term, chronic change; e.g., one category of the water clarity scale (see glossary) for one year, such as from low to medium turbidity. Further details

Evidence

Pomatoschistus minutus does not depend on algae as a food source, but depends on other food sources (such as Crustacea and polychaetes). These would still be readily available. The minimum light intensity needed for the detection and recognition of food are of great importance in many species of fish (Kinne, 1970). For instance if the organism needs to spend more time foraging for food, its energy expenditure will increase and could possibly lead to growth and reproductive problems. In highly turbid waters fish larvae have been noted to show a greater than normal mortality. It is probable that Pomatoschistus minutus would be intolerant of changes in turbidity on a large scale, but probably not with changes of approximately 50 mg/l over a month. Therefore, a low intolerance to changes in turbidity has been recorded. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Low High Low Moderate
Decrease in turbidity [Show more]

Decrease in turbidity

  1. A short-term, acute change; e.g., two categories of the water clarity scale (see glossary) for one month, such as from medium to extreme turbidity.
  2. A long-term, chronic change; e.g., one category of the water clarity scale (see glossary) for one year, such as from low to medium turbidity. Further details

Evidence

No information
Increase in wave exposure [Show more]

Increase in wave exposure

A change of two ranks on the wave exposure scale (view glossary) e.g., from Exposed to Extremely exposed for a period of one year. Further details

Evidence

The sand goby is sufficiently mobile to move away from the area undergoing changes in wave exposure, therefore it is assigned a low intolerance. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Not relevant
Decrease in wave exposure [Show more]

Decrease in wave exposure

A change of two ranks on the wave exposure scale (view glossary) e.g., from Exposed to Extremely exposed for a period of one year. Further details

Evidence

No information
Noise [Show more]

Noise

  1. Underwater noise levels e.g., the regular passing of a 30-metre trawler at 100 metres or a working cutter-suction transfer dredge at 100 metres for one month during important feeding or breeding periods.
  2. Atmospheric noise levels e.g., the regular passing of a Boeing 737 passenger jet 300 metres overhead for one month during important feeding or breeding periods. Further details

Evidence

Insufficient
information.
No information No information No information No information
Visual presence [Show more]

Visual presence

Benchmark. The continuous presence for one month of moving objects not naturally found in the marine environment (e.g., boats, machinery, and humans) within the visual envelope of the species or community under consideration. Further details

Evidence

Fish generally forage for food using visual methods and can detect differing levels of light and shade. It is therefore probable that Pomatoschistus minutus can also detect these changes and would be slightly affected by activity on the shore, more so in the breeding season. However, periods of time when activity might be reduced due to hiding would most likely be slight. Intolerance to visual presence is assessed as low. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Low High Low Low
Abrasion & physical disturbance [Show more]

Abrasion & physical disturbance

Benchmark. Force equivalent to a standard scallop dredge landing on or being dragged across the organism. A single event is assumed for assessment. This factor includes mechanical interference, crushing, physical blows against, or rubbing and erosion of the organism or habitat of interest. Where trampling is relevant, the evidence and trampling intensity will be reported in the rationale. Further details.

Evidence

Pomatoschistus minutus is sufficiently mobile to avoid abrasive contact. Therefore it is unlikely to suffer from abrasion.
Not relevant Not relevant Not relevant Not relevant
Displacement [Show more]

Displacement

Benchmark. Removal of the organism from the substratum and displacement from its original position onto a suitable substratum. A single event is assumed for assessment. Further details

Evidence

It is unlikely that Pomatoschistus minutus would be affected by displacement, as it is sufficiently mobile to recolonize other areas. However, if displacement occurs during the breeding season negative effects on the species could be noted. Furthermore, if a male that is protecting fertilized eggs is displaced, the eggs are not likely to survive. Therefore, a low intolerance has been recorded. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Low High Low Low

Chemical pressures

Use [show more] / [show less] to open/close text displayed

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence / Confidence
Synthetic compound contamination [Show more]

Synthetic compound contamination

Sensitivity is assessed against the available evidence for the effects of contaminants on the species (or closely related species at low confidence) or community of interest. For example:

  • evidence of mass mortality of a population of the species or community of interest (either short or long term) in response to a contaminant will be ranked as high sensitivity;
  • evidence of reduced abundance, or extent of a population of the species or community of interest (either short or long term) in response to a contaminant will be ranked as intermediate sensitivity;
  • evidence of sub-lethal effects or reduced reproductive potential of a population of the species or community of interest will be assessed as low sensitivity.

The evidence used is stated in the rationale. Where the assessment can be based on a known activity then this is stated. The tolerance to contaminants of species of interest will be included in the rationale when available; together with relevant supporting material. Further details.

Evidence

Lindane is likely to bioaccumulate significantly and is considered to be highly toxic to fish (Cole et al., 1999). Ebere & Akintonwa (1992) conducted experiments on the toxicity of various pesticides to Gobius sp. They found Lindane and Diazinon to be very toxic, with 96 hr LC50s of 0.25 µg/l and 0.04 µg/l respectively. TBT is very toxic to algae and fish. However, toxicity of TBT is highly variable with 96-hr LC50 ranging from 1.5 to 36 µg/l, with larval stages being more sensitive than adults (Cole et al., 1999). PCBs are highly persistent in the water column and sediments, have the potential to bioaccumulate significantly and can be very toxic to marine invertebrates. However their toxicity to fish is not clear (Cole et al., 1999). Therefore, an Intermediate intolerance has been recorded. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Intermediate High Low Low
Heavy metal contamination [Show more]

Heavy metal contamination

Evidence

Cadmium, mercury, lead, zinc and copper are highly persistent, have the potential to bioaccumulate significantly and are all considered to be very toxic to fish (Cole et al., 1999). Mueller (1979) found that in Pomatoschistus sp., very low concentrations of cadmium, copper and lead (0.5 g/l Cd2+; 5 g/l Cu2+; 20 g/l Pb2+) brought about changes in activity and an obstruction to the gill epithelia by mucus.
Inorganic mercury concentrations as low as 30 µg/l (96-h LC50) are considered to be toxic to fish, whereas organic mercury concentrations are more toxic to marine organisms (World Health Organisation, 1989, 1991). Oertzen et al. (1988) found that the toxicity of the organic mercury complex exceeded that of HgCl2 by a factor of 30 for Pomatoschistus microps. As Pomatoschistus microps and Pomatoschistus minutus are similar in their distribution and morphology (Wiederholm, 1987) it is probable that Pomatoschistus minutus would react in the same way. Therefore, a high intolerance to heavy metals has been recorded. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
High High Moderate Low
Hydrocarbon contamination [Show more]

Hydrocarbon contamination

Evidence

Toxicity of low molecular weight poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) to organisms in the water column is moderate (Cole et al., 1999). They have the potential to accumulate in sediments and, depending on individual PAH, to be toxic to sediment dwellers at levels between 6 and 150 µg/l (Cole et al., 1999). The toxicity of oil and petrochemicals to fish ranges from moderate to high (Cole et al., 1999). Berge et al. (1983) performed an experiment on the effects of the water soluble fraction (WSF) of North Sea crude oil on sand gobies. They found that after 1 to 2 days exposure to WSF crude oil at a concentration of 0.1 to 1.0 ppm, there was increased mortality and decrease in normal nocturnal behaviour. After 6 days exposure, a 50 % survival was noted. Berge et al. (1983) also noted that, after restoration of clean sea water normal activity resumed and mortality gradually became less, although some fish still died.
Bowling et al. (1983) found that anthracene, a PAH, had a photo-induced toxicity to the bluegill sunfish. In fact, Bowling et al. (1983) reported that when exposed to sunlight, anthracene was at least 400 times more toxic than when no sunlight was present. According to Ankley et al. (1997) only a subset of PAH's are phototoxic (fluranthene, anthracene, pyrene etc.). Effects of these compounds are destruction of gill epithelia, erosion of skin layers, hypoxia and asphyxiation (Bowling et al., 1983). It is possible that Pomatoschistus minutus could be similarly intolerant of hydrocarbons, however this is not known. An intermediate intolerance to hydrocarbons has been recorded. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Intermediate High Low Moderate
Radionuclide contamination [Show more]

Radionuclide contamination

Evidence

Kinne (1984) reported that for the marine goby, Chasmichthys glosus, doses of as little as 100 rad (type not known) produced a readily observable response, causing severe damage to gonads of both males and females. The testes showed slightly greater intolerance. It is probable that Pomatoschistus minutus would respond similarly to sublethal irradiation at levels indicated above. An intermediate intolerance to radionuclides has been recorded. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Intermediate High Low Very low
Changes in nutrient levels [Show more]

Changes in nutrient levels

Evidence

An increase or decrease in nutrient levels is not likely to exert an effect on the sand goby.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Low
Increase in salinity [Show more]

Increase in salinity

  1. A short-term, acute change; e.g., a change of two categories from the MNCR salinity scale for one week (view glossary) such as from full to reduced.
  2. A long-term, chronic change; e.g., a change of one category from the MNCR salinity scale for one year (view glossary) such as from reduced to low. Further details.

Evidence

Fonds (1973) found that the sand goby could tolerate salinities between 0.9 and 45 psu. Healey (1971) investigated survival of eggs at various salinities at a temperature of 11-13 °C. He found that they survived best at salinities between 10 and 25 psu, and poorly at 0 and 35 psu. Healey (1971) also found poor survival of sand goby eggs at 0.5 psu. The sand goby is therefore able to survive in a wide range of salinities, and its intolerance is recorded as low. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Low High Low Low
Decrease in salinity [Show more]

Decrease in salinity

  1. A short-term, acute change; e.g., a change of two categories from the MNCR salinity scale for one week (view glossary) such as from full to reduced.
  2. A long-term, chronic change; e.g., a change of one category from the MNCR salinity scale for one year (view glossary) such as from reduced to low. Further details.

Evidence

No information
Changes in oxygenation [Show more]

Changes in oxygenation

Benchmark.  Exposure to a dissolved oxygen concentration of 2 mg/l for one week. Further details.

Evidence

A drastic short term decrease in oxygen levels would be expected to have a slight negative impact on the population. Peterson & Peterson (1990) found that the sand goby became restless at oxygen levels below 40 %. It was not known if the increased activity was due to respiratory stress or through adaptation to lower oxygen saturation. Where deoxygenation occurs as a result of thermal isolation of enclosed waters or decay following a plankton bloom, sand gobies would be expected to swim away from the affected area. Intolerance to oxygenation is assessed as low. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Low High Low Very low

Biological pressures

Use [show more] / [show less] to open/close text displayed

 IntoleranceRecoverabilitySensitivityEvidence / Confidence
Introduction of microbial pathogens/parasites [Show more]

Introduction of microbial pathogens/parasites

Benchmark. Sensitivity can only be assessed relative to a known, named disease, likely to cause partial loss of a species population or community. Further details.

Evidence

Podocotyle atomon (Digenea) was noted to have a very high infestation rate in Pomatoschistus minutus (Zander et al., 1993). Neoechinorhynchus Rutili (Acanthocephala), Hysterothylacium sp. (Nematoda), and Bothriocephalus scorpii (Cestoda) were also noted by Zander et al. (1993) to infest the sand goby, in the SW Baltic Sea. Although no information was found about specific effects of these parasites on the sand goby, it is likely that it will cause a reduction in its fitness. High parasite levels have very little effect on Pomatoschistus microps (T. Matthews, pers. comm. to A. Jackson). Therefore, a low intolerance has been recorded. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Low High Low Low
Introduction of non-native species [Show more]

Introduction of non-native species

Sensitivity assessed against the likely effect of the introduction of alien or non-native species in Britain or Ireland. Further details.

Evidence

No alien or non-native species are known to affect Pomatoschistus minutus in Britain and Ireland.
Tolerant Not relevant Not sensitive Low
Extraction of this species [Show more]

Extraction of this species

Benchmark. Extraction removes 50% of the species or community from the area under consideration. Sensitivity will be assessed as 'intermediate'. The habitat remains intact or recovers rapidly. Any effects of the extraction process on the habitat itself are addressed under other factors, e.g. displacement, abrasion and physical disturbance, and substratum loss. Further details.

Evidence

Although of no commercial importance itself, the sand goby is incidentally caught in abundance in French Mediterranean lagoons (Quignard et al., 1983). The species is extremely common, and therefore extraction of the species is only likely to have slight effects on the population. Recoverability is likely to be high (see Additional Information section (1) below).
Low High Low Low
Extraction of other species [Show more]

Extraction of other species

Benchmark. A species that is a required host or prey for the species under consideration (and assuming that no alternative host exists) or a keystone species in a biotope is removed. Any effects of the extraction process on the habitat itself are addressed under other factors, e.g. displacement, abrasion and physical disturbance, and substratum loss. Further details.

Evidence

Pomatoschistus minutus is not known to depend on any other species. Although of no commercial importance itself, it is incidentally caught in abundance in French Mediterranean lagoons (Quignard et al., 1983). Therefore, it is likely to be intolerant of fish trawls for the extraction of other species.
Low Very high Very Low Low

Additional information

  1. The sand goby becomes sexually mature at about 7 months to a year old (Miller, 1986). Although it has a short life span of about 1.3 to 2 years (Miller, 1986; Quignard et al., 1983), reproduction involves repeat spawning and fecundity is high (2,878 - 3,000 Miller, 1986).
  2. The impact of sewage sludge, which contains metals, organic contaminants, nutrients and parasites, on Pomatoschistus minutus was tested by Waring et al. (1996). This was achieved by exposing individuals to 0.1 % sewage sludge for 19 weeks prior to the end of spawning. Waring et al. (1996) found that although fecundity of female sand gobies was not affected, the survival rate of eggs and larvae was reduced, the number of spawning females was reduced, and male mortality was higher than usual. Contamination by sewage sludge would therefore decrease the recruitment potential and increase the mortality rate, leading to a decline in the overall population density.

Importance review

Policy/legislation

DesignationSupport
Berne ConventionAppendix III
Priority Marine Features (Scotland)Yes

Status

Non-native

ParameterData
Native-
Origin-
Date ArrivedNot relevant

Importance information

Pomatoschistus minutus is protected under the Bern Convention, Appendix III (Protected Fauna Species). Under this the species is protected, but a certain exploitation is possible if the population level permits.

Bibliography

  1. Ankley, G.T., Erickson, R.J., Sheedy, B.R., Kosian, P.A., Mattson, V.R. & Cox, J.S., 1997. Evaluation of models for predicting the phototoxic potency of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Aquatic Toxicology, 37, 37-50.

  2. Aquascope, 2000b. More about the sand goby. [On-line] http://www.vattenkikaren.gu.se/fakta/arter/chordata/teleoste/pomaminu/pomami1e.html, 2001-02-22

  3. Ara├║jo, F.G., Williams, W.P. & Bailey, R.G., 2000. Fish assemblages as indicators of water quality in the middle Thames Estuary, England (1980-1989). Estuaries, 23, 305-317.

  4. Berge, J.A., Johannessen, K.I. & Reiersen, L.O., 1983. Effects of the water soluble fraction of the North Sea crude oil on the swimming activity of the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 68, 159-167.

  5. Bouchereau, J.L, Joyeux, J.C. & Quignard, J.P., 1989. La reproduction de Pomatoschistus microps (Kroyer, 1938), Poissons, Gobiides, dans la lagune de Mauguio. (France). Bulletin d'ecologie, 20, 193-202.

  6. Bouchereau, J.L. & Guelorget, O., 1998. Comparison of 3 Gobiidae (Teleostei) life history strategies over their geographical range. Oceanologica Acta, 21, 503-517.

  7. Bouchereau, J.L., Quignard, J.P., Tomansi, J.A. & Capape, C., 1990. Sexual cycle, condition, fecundity and spawning of Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas, 1770) (Gobiidae), from the Gulf of Lion, France. Cybium, 14, 251-267.

  8. Bowling, J.W., Leversee, G.J., Landrum, P.F. & Giesy, J.P., 1983. Acute mortality of anthracene-contaminated fish exposed to sunlight. Aquatic Toxicology, 3, 79-90.

  9. Bruce, J.R., Colman, J.S. & Jones, N.S., 1963. Marine fauna of the Isle of Man. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

  10. Campbell, A., 1994. Seashores and shallow seas of Britain and Europe. London: Hamlyn.

  11. Claridge, P.N., Hardisty, M.W., Potter, I.C. & Williams, C.W., 1985. Abundance, life history and ligulosis in the gobies (Teleostei) of the inner Severn estuary. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 65, 951-968.

  12. Cordone, A.J. & Kelley, D.W., 1961. The influences of inorganic sediment on the aquatic life of streams. California Fish Game, 47, 189-228.

  13. Crisp, D.J. (ed.), 1964. The effects of the severe winter of 1962-63 on marine life in Britain. Journal of Animal Ecology, 33, 165-210.

  14. Ebere, A.G. & Akintonwa, A., 1992. Acute toxicity of pesticides to Gobius sp., Palaemonetes africanus, and Desmocaris trispimosa. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 49, 588-592.

  15. Eno, N.C., Clark, R.A. & Sanderson, W.G. (ed.) 1997. Non-native marine species in British waters: a review and directory. Peterborough: Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

  16. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  17. Fonds, M. & Veldhuis, C., 1973. The oxygen consumption of four Pomatoschistus species (Pisces, Gobiidae) in relation to water temperature. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research, 7, 376-386.

  18. Fonds, M., 1973. Sand gobies in the Dutch Wadden Sea (Pomatoschistus, Gobiidae, Pisces). Netherlands Journal of Sea Research, 6, 417-478.

  19. Froese, R. & Pauly, D. (ed.), 2000e. Species summary for Pomatoschistus minutus, sand goby. http://www.fishbase.org, 2001-02-22

  20. Geffen, A.J., Pearce, N.J.G. & Perkins, W.T., 1998. Metal concentrations in fish otoliths in relation to body composition after laboratory exposure to mercury and lead. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 165, 235-245.

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

  22. Healey, M.C., 1971. The distribution and abundance of sand gobies, Gobius minutus, in the Ythan estuary. Journal of Zoology, London, 163, 177-229.

  23. Hesgathen, I.H., 1977. Migrations, breeding and growth in Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas) (Pisces, Gobiidae) in Oslofjorden, Norway. Sarsia, 63, 17-26.

  24. 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.]

  25. Jaquet, N. & Raffaelli, D., 1989. The ecological importance of the sand goby Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 128, 147-156

  26. Kinne, O. (ed.), 1970. Marine Ecology: A Comprehensive Treatise on Life in Oceans and Coastal Waters. Vol. 1 Environmental Factors Part 1. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons

  27. Kinne, O. (ed.), 1984. Marine Ecology: A Comprehensive, Integrated Treatise on Life in Oceans and Coastal Waters.Vol. V. Ocean Management Part 3: Pollution and Protection of the Seas - Radioactive Materials, Heavy Metals and Oil. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.

  28. Kvarnemo, C., 1994. Temperature differentially affects male and female reproductive rates in the sand goby: consequences for operational sex ratio. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B,, 256, 151-156.

  29. Kvarnemo, C., 1998. Temperature modulates competitive behaviour: why sand goby males fight more in warmer water. Ethology, Ecology and Evolution, 10, 105-114.

  30. Magnhagen, C. & Forsgren, E., 1991. Behavioural responses to different types of predators by sand goby Pomatoschistus minutus: An experimental study. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 70, 11-16.

  31. Miller, P.J., 1986. Gobiidae. P. 1019 - 1085. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean. In Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.C., Nielson, J., & Tortonese, E. (eds.), Paris: UNESCO, vol. 3

  32. Moore, P.G., 1977a. Inorganic particulate suspensions in the sea and their effects on marine animals. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review, 15, 225-363.

  33. Mueller, D., 1979. Sublethal and lethal effects of copper, cadmium and lead to organisms representative for the intertidal flats at the outer Elbe Estuary. Archiv fur hydrobiologie, supplement 43 (2-3), 289-346.

  34. Oertzen, J.-A., Wulf, D. & Bruegmann, L., 1988. Ecotoxicological effects of two mercury compounds on Neomysis integer (Leach) and Pomatoschistus microps (Kroyer). Kieler Meeresforschungen Sonderheft, 6, 414-123.

  35. Pampoulie, C., Rosecchi, E. & Bouchereau, J.L., 1999. Life history traits of Pomatoschistus minutus in the Rhone Delta, France. Journal of Fish Biology, 55, 4, 892-896.

  36. Peterson, C.G.J., 1919. On the development of our common gobies (Gobius) from the egg to the adult stages etc. Report of the Danish Biological Station to the Board of Agriculture, 26, 3-16.

  37. Peterson, J.K. & Peterson, G.I., 1990. Tolerance, behaviour and oxygen consumption in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas), exposed to hypoxia. Journal of Fish Biology, 37, 921-933.

  38. Quignard, J.P., Mazoyer-Mayere, C., Vianet, R., Man-Wai, R. & Benharrat, K., 1983. Un exemple d'exploitation lagunaire en Langue-doc: l'etang de l'Or (Mauguio). Peche et production halieutique. Science peche, 336, 3-23.

  39. Rogers, S.I., 1989. Seasonal variations in fecundity and egg size of the common goby, Pomatoschistus microps. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 69, 535-543.

  40. Russell, F.S., 1976. The eggs and planktonic stages of British marine fishes.

  41. Waring, C.P., Stagg, R.M., Fretwell, K., MsKlay, H.A. & Costello, M.J., 1996. The impact of sewage sludge exposure on the reproduction of the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus. Environmental Pollution, 93, 1, 17-25.

  42. Webb, C.J., 1980. Systematics of the Pomatoschistus minutus complex (Teleostei: Gobioidei). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 291, 201-241.

  43. WHO (World Health Organization), 1989. Mercury - Environmental Aspects. Environmental Health Criteria No. 86. Geneva: World Health Organization., Geneva: World Health Organization.

  44. WHO (World Health Organization), 1991. Mercury - inorganic - Environmental Aspects. Environmental Health Criteria No. 118. Geneva: World Health Organization., Geneva: World Health Organization.

  45. Wiederholm, A.M., 1987. Distribution of Pomatoschistus minutus and Pomatoschistus microps (Gobiidae, Pisces) in the Bothnian Sea: importance of salinity and temperature. Memoranda Societatis Pro Fauna and Flora Fennica, 63, 56-62.

  46. Zander, C.D., Strohbach, U. & Groenewold, S., 1993. The importance of gobies (Gobiidae, Teleostei) as hosts and transmitters of parasites in the SW Baltic. Helgolander Meeresuntersuchungen, 47, 81-111.

Datasets

  1. Bristol Regional Environmental Records Centre, 2017. BRERC species records recorded over 15 years ago. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/h1ln5p accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  2. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset https://www.nmni.com/CEDaR/CEDaR-Centre-for-Environmental-Data-and-Recording.aspx accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-25.

  3. Cofnod – North Wales Environmental Information Service, 2018. Miscellaneous records held on the Cofnod database. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/hcgqsi accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  4. Environmental Records Information Centre North East, 2018. ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017. Occurrence dataset: http://www.ericnortheast.org.ukl accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-38

  5. Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society Marine Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/7axhcw accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  6. Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre, 2017. Fish: Records for Kent.. Occurrence dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/kd1utk accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  7. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Kent Wildlife Trust Shoresearch Intertidal Survey 2004 onwards. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

  8. Lancashire Environment Record Network, 2018. LERN Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/esxc9a accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  9. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset:https://doi.org/10.15468/aru16v accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  10. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1995 to 1999. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/lo2tge accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  11. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  12. National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/opc6g1 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  13. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  14. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-09-30

  15. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Fish (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/htsfiy accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

  16. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. Dr Mary Gillham Archive Project. Occurance dataset: http://www.sewbrec.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-02

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Riley, K. 2007. Pomatoschistus minutus Sand goby. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 30-09-2023]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1204

 Download PDF version


Last Updated: 21/08/2007