Lythrypnus okapia

Common Name

Okapi Goby

Year Described

Robins & Böhlke, 1964


Dorsal Fin: VI, 9
Anal Fin: 8
Pectoral Fin: 14
Caudal Fin: 17
Lateral Line Scales: 25-30
Gill Rakers: 6 (first arch)
Vertebrae: 10+16 = 26 (total)

Body elongate and tapering to the rear. No lateral pores on head. Jaws with bands of teeth (conical teeth inward and sharp canines outside) but vomer and palatine without teeth. Anterior nostril tubular. Posterior nostril slightly raised and separated from anterior nostril. No frenum on upper lip. Tongue rounded at tip. Gill opening extends to ventral part of opercular flap. Head, chest, nape, and pectoral base naked. Naked area extends to beyond posterior spine of spiny dorsal fin. Belly scaled. Two separate dorsal fins. Anterior dorsal fin spines not elongate. Pectoral rays unbranched.


Body pale gray with 5-8 black bands posterior to opercle that begin to fuse together posteriorly. Head with black bands on nape, radiating from eye, and broken into spots on cheek. Scattered melanophores on body and occasionally forming a median line on pale body bands. A pale orange wash sometimes present on trunk and cheek. Eye red. Pectoral fin with blotch at base. Median fins pale with dense speckling. Paired fins unmarked.


One of the smallest fish in the western Atlantic; to 14mm SL


Found on coral reefs from 1-15m


Scattered records from the Bahamas to the S. Caribbean Sea


Robins, C. R. and J. E. Böhlke. 1964. Two new Bahaman gobiid fishes of the genera Lythrypnus and Garmannia. Notulae Naturae (Philadelphia) No. 364: 1-6.