Elacatinus phthirophagus

Common Name

Noronha Cleaner Goby

Year Described

Sazima, Carvalho-Filho & Sazima, 2008


Dorsal Fin: VII, I, 10-11 (usually 11)
Anal Fin: I, 11
Pectoral Fin: 15-17 (usually 17)
Caudal Fin:
Gill Rakers:
Vertebrae: 28

Mouth subterminal. Pelvic fins fully united into circular disk. Body scaleless.


Body stripe is bright yellow and runs from the rear orbit to the tail. This stripe is bordered above and below by two black stripes of similar width. Stripes taper off on caudal fin. The snout has an elliptical yellow spot surrounded by black pigment. No blue stripe on cheek. Back dark gray. Belly pale gray, grading to whitish. Cheek and flank often with a purplish sheen. Fins translucent.


Maximum size to 31.8mm SL.


Coral reefs from 3-18m SL. Perches on elevated reef substrate in small groups. Engages in cleaning behavior.


Known from the Fernando de Noronha archipelago off of N.E. Brazil.


Sazima, I. , A. Carvalho-Filho & C. Sazima. 2008. A new cleaner species of Elacatinus (Actinopterygii: Gobiidae) from the Southwestern Atlantic. Zootaxa No. 1932: 27-32.

Other Notes

Most closely related to Elacatinus randalli, which has a narrower yellow stripe, a pale snout surrounding the yellow spot, and a blue line on cheek. The two species do not overlap in distribution.