Microgobius gulosus

Common Name

Clown Goby

Year Described

Girard, 1858


Dorsal Fin: VII, 15-18 (usually 16-17)
Anal Fin: 16-18
Pectoral Fin: 19-24 (usually 21-22)
Gill Rakers: 3+10
Scales: 44-54 rows

Body elongate. Mouth large and upturned. Dentary with 7-9 teeth. Dorsal crest absent in both sexes. There are two preopercular pores. Supraorbital canals usually joined between eyes. Dorsal spines 2-5 elongate in males but not elongate in females. Body covered in cycloid scales, except for a ctenoid patch under the pectoral fin.


Body pale translucent gray with a pearly blue cast when alive. Side with 8-9 dark yellow-brown blotches and another row of blotches along dorsum roughly in line with the former. Additional irregular mottling and spotting often present on dorsum, but normally plain on the underside. Blotching fuses anteriorly to form a solid yellow-brown area bisected by 2-3 thin bands of body color. The second (under the first dorsal spines) is strongest and runs to the belly but the others are incomplete. Head yellow-brown above and pearly blue below with 2 major oblique pearly cheek bands. Two thinner stripes run from eye and intersect with the body banding running rearward. Eye yellowish with green markings. Spiny dorsal pale yellowish with a dark median stripe and dark basal blotches. Soft dorsal pearly blue with numerous dark blotches aligned with body markings and a blue margin. Caudal fin pale yellowish with dark blotches and a white to yellowish margin. Anal fin yellow basally, dark medially, and yellow distally. Pelvic fin dusky. Pectoral fin mostly clear.


Maximum size to 75mm SL.


Low energy waters on mud bottoms from 0-75m.


Virginia to S. Florida and the Gulf of Mexico west to Texas.


Birdsong, R.S. 1981. A review of the gobiid fish genus Microgobius Poey. Bulletin of Marine Science v. 31 (no. 2): 267-306.

Tornabene, L. , J.L. van Tassell and D.R. Robertson. 2012. Microgobius urraca (Teleostei: Gobiidae), a new species of goby from the tropical eastern Pacific. Zootaxa No. 3447: 41-55.