Varicus decorum

Common Name

Decorated Splitfin Goby

Year Described

Van Tassell, Baldwin & Tornabene, 2016


Dorsal Fin: VII, 10
Anal Fin: 8-9
Pectoral Fin: 17
Caudal Fin: 17 segmented rays
Vertebrae: 11+16= 27 (total)

Body elongate with a large head. Eye medium sized. Dorsal fin with anterior spines not elongate and last two spines more spaced than the first five. Pectoral fin with lower rays elongate and reaching anal fin. Pelvic fin rays un-branched or branched and re-fused, with the last much shorter than fourth and unbranched. Pelvic rays with broad, fleshy tips. Pelvic fins not fused; extending to anal fin base. One anal-fin pterygiophore anterior to the first haemal spine. Papillae rows 5i and 5s are connected as a single row. Cephalic lateralis pores absent. Body naked. Two basicaudal scales present.


Body and head pale translucent white with four lateral yellow blotches, often with a concentration of black melanophores centrally. Another small lateral blotch at end of caudal peduncle is usually smaller and darker than the rest. Two rows of yellow spots about the size of the pupil along the dorsum are evenly spaced and peppered with small melanophores. Head with two yellow bands: one crossing the opercle and one under the eye. Snout yellowish. Cheek pinkish. Dorsal fins clear with oblique rows of yellow spot-bands. Tail with 4-5 vertical yellow bands and a yellow lower lobe. Anal fin yellow with a blackish margin. Pectoral and pelvic fins yellowish.


Maximum size to 42.5mm SL.


Known from deep water (99-251m) over sandy bottoms or in rubble.


Known so far from off Curacao.


Tornabene, L., J.L. Van Tassell, R.G. Gilmore, D.R. Robertson, F. Young, & C.C. Baldwin. 2016. Molecular phylogeny, analysis of character evolution, and submersible collections enable a new classification of a diverse group of gobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Nes subgroup), including nine new species and four new genera. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.