Bathygobius curacao

Common Name

Notchtongue Frillfin Goby

Year Described

Metzelaar, 1919


Dorsal Fin: VI, 10
Anal Fin: I, 8
Pectoral Fin: 15-18 (usually 16-17)
Caudal Rays: 16 upper, 15 lower lobe (all types)
Scale Rows: 31-36
Pre-dorsal Scales: 17-20

Body of typical shape for the gobies but robust. Eye large sized; a little longer than snout length. Upper jaw usually 11-15% of SL. Pectoral fin extends to rear margin of first dorsal. Upper 3-4 pectoral rays separate from membrane and bifurcate. Pelvic fins fully fused into disk. Pelvic fins do not reach anus. Caudal fin rounded. Body fully scaled with scales extending forward to level of pre-opercular margin. Cheek and opercle unscaled.


Body with a dense network of dark pigment forming a reticulate pattern of horizontal and vertical lines. Several rows of indistinct dark blotches along side in multiple rows. Pattern gives the appearance of an overall dark appearance with several rows of pale spots centered on scale rows. No blotching on lower trunk or belly. Head dark with pale spots and two irregular eyebands. Gut speckled finely with melanophores. Eye dark. Spiny dorsal fin with three horizontal stripes and a pale yellow margin. Soft dorsal fin with dark membranes and paler rays containing dark spots and a broad yellowish margin. Caudal fin darker ventrally on the membranes and extensive spotting on the rays. Anal fin dark overall. Pelvic and pectoral fins dark with indistinct banding.


Maximum size to 75mm SL.


Occurs in shallow coastal waters in low energy environments like seagrass beds, mangroves, and protected shorelines.


Widespread in the Caribbean Sea on both island and continental coasts. Recorded from the Florida Keys to Tobago and Belize to Venezuela.


Lima-Filho, P.A., R. de Souza Rosa, A.D.S. de Souza, G.W.W.F. da Costa, C. de Oliveira, & W.F. Molina. 2016. Evolutionary diversification of Western Atlantic Bathygobius species based on cytogenetic, morphologic and DNA barcode data. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries: 26(1), 109-121.

Tornabene, L., C. Baldwin, L.A. Weigt, and F. Pezold. 2010. Exploring the diversity of western Atlantic Bathygobius (Teleostei: Gobiidae) with cytochrome c oxidase-I, with descriptions of two new species. Aqua: 16(4), 141-170.

Tornabene, L. and F. Pezold. 2011. Phylogenetic analysis of Western Atlantic Bathygobius (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Zootaxa: 3042, 27-36.

Other Notes

This species is part of the Bathygobius antilliensis group of Tornabene & Pezold (2011) and can easily be separated from B. antilliensis by pectoral count and color pattern.