Painted goby (Pomatoschistus pictus)

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



Pomatoschistus pictus is a small elongate goby reaching only 6 cm in length. It has two distinct dorsal fins positioned closely together. The first usually has six spines and two rows of black spots, two between each of the spines. The second dorsal fin has one spine and up to 10 rays and one or more rows of smaller black spots, one or more between each of the rays. The caudal fin is more or less rounded. The painted goby is usually faun to yellowish-olive green in colour. Four pale saddles are present across the back and four double spots are situated between the saddles along the lateral midline. The areas anterior of the dorsal fins and around the breast region are naked of scales.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Widely distributed throught British and Irish coasts.

Global distribution



The painted goby is an inshore benthic species usually found on gravel or sand down to 50 m depth. Younger individuals may be found in intertidal rockpools.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Elongate body up to 6 cm in length.
  • Dorsolateral eyes.
  • Papillae between eyes are absent.
  • Two dorsal fins with rows of black spots.
  • Four pale saddles on the back and four dark double spots on the sides.

Additional information

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Listed by

- none -


  1. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line], 2008-02-18

  2. 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.]

  3. 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).


  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  2. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset Accessed via on 2018-10-01

  3. Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society Marine Records. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-27.

  4. Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre, 2017. Fish: Records for Kent.. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2018-09-27.

  5. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  6. National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  7. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  8. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-04-23


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Pomatoschistus pictus Painted 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 23-04-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 03/06/2008