Gobiesox barbatulus

Common Name

Lappetlip Skilletfish

Year Described

Starks, 1913


Dorsal Fin: 10-12
Anal Fin: 8-9
Pectoral Fin: 22-27
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 developed on top lip). Flaps or barbels in front of or under eye well developed. 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 two rows of 1-3 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 pale brown with elongated blotches and/or thick brown longitudinal lines on body and head. Lines thinner on head and radiate from eye. Lines usually thicker than pale interspaces. Fins range from body colored with spots to dark brown with white edges. Ventrum and disk brown.


Maximum size to 54mm SL.


An estuarine species found in shallow (~1m) lagoons and mangrove swamps. Attaches to mangrove roots and under stones.


Belize to S. Brazil along continental margins.


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 Gobiesox strumosus in the Caribbean and Brazil are actually this species.