MarLIN

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

Two spotted goby (Gobiusculus flavescens)

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

Summary

Description

Gobiusculus flavescens are small, slender gobies, reaching up to 6 cm in length. They are distinct from other gobies in that their eyes are on the side of the head (lateral) rather than on top (dorsal). There is a black spot at the base of the tail fin, and in the males, there is a second, smaller black spot beneath the pectoral fins. They are reddish to greenish brown in colour, paler on the undersides with dark reticulations dorsally. There are four light 'saddle' marks dorsally from the head to the end of the second dorsal fin. The two dorsal fins are banded red, with the first dorsal fin bearing 7 rays (instead of the more usual 6 in other gobies). Along the midline of the sides are a series of bluish markings. During the breeding season these markings become extremely bright in the males. The caudal fin is transversely banded.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Common on all coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Global distribution

Found in the eastern Atlantic from Faeroes, Vesteralen (Norway), and western Baltic to north west Spain excluding south east North Sea. Rarely reported in the Mediterranean.

Habitat

Distinct from other goby species, Gobiusculus flavescens are frequently found hovering in small, loose shoals in the water column amongst Laminaria plants and Zostera beds and over seaweed covered rocks. They are found in intertidal pools and shallow water to a depth of 20 m.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • A black spot at the base of the tail fin.
  • Males exhibit a second black spot beneath pectoral fins.
  • Small and slender, up to 6 cm in length.
  • Eyes on side of head (lateral).
  • Characteristically found in loose shoals above or amongst Laminaria and Zostera beds.
  • Reddish to greenish brown with pale undersides.
  • Light coloured 'saddle' marks along the back.
  • First dorsal fin bears 7 rays.

Additional information

Wheeler (1969) remarks that breeding males become so brilliantly coloured that they are almost unrecognizable

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. 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.

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

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

  4. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset http://www.aphotomarine.com/index.html Accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01

  5. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. St Andrews BioBlitz 2015. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/xtrbvy accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

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

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

  8. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  9. 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.]

  10. 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.

  11. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: http://www.nbnatlas.org.

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

  17. Picton, B.E., & Costello, M.J., 2001. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats and fauna of Britain and Ireland. http://www.itsligo.ie/biomar/echinode/ECHSEP.HTM, 2001-06-01

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

  19. 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).

  20. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, 2018. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Shoresearch. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/1nw3ch accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Ballerstedt, S. 2008. Gobiusculus flavescens Two 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. [cited 16-10-2018]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1871

Last Updated: 03/06/2008