Gobiesox strumosus

Common Name


Year Described

Cope, 1870


Dorsal Fin: 10-12
Anal Fin: 8-9
Pectoral Fin: 22-26 (usually 24)
Caudal Fin: 10-12 principal

Head depressed and wide. Body tapering and becoming laterally compressed posteriorly. Sensory papillae on head well developed (none on snout but well devloped on top lip). Flaps or barbels in front of or under eye poorly developed or absent. Eyes relatively large. Rear nostril with two prominent flaps. Mouth terminal and small. Top lip broad at front, thin on sides. Top jaw with a large patch of conical teeth at front and a row of teeth on either side. Lower jaw with 4-6 pairs of incisors on front and a single row on either side. Dorsal and anal fins placed far rearward. Tail long with rounded margin. Pectoral fin with large fleshy pad that has a free rear edge. Pelvic disk well developed with 7-10 rows of papillae anteriorly, 4-6 rows posteriorly and 2 patches (3-5 rows each) in the center of the disk. Anus usually closer to anal fin origin but can be about midway to disk. Scales and lateral line absent.


Body color extremely variable: ranges from almost black with white lines radiating from eye and random white spots, to heavily speckled with brown white and black, or heavily mottled with brown banding and spotting. Can change coloration based on substrate and mood. Fins range from body colored and spotted to dark with white edges. Ventrum and disk pale brown to whitish.


Maximum size to 80mm SL.


Inhabits shallow (<33m) coastal regions, including brackish estuaries. Found on pilings, oyster reefs, rocky areas and in rubble.


New Jersey to Florida and the northern Gulf of Mexico. Not found in the Caribbean Sea where it is replaced by other species.


Johnson, R.K. & D.W. Greenfield. 1983. Clingfishes (Gobiesocidae) from Belize and Honduras, central America, with a redescription of Gobiesox barbatulus Starks. Gulf of Mexico Science, 6(1), 4.

Other Notes

Reports of this species in the Caribbean and to Brazil refer to Gobiesox barbatulus.