Clingfish Family Photos and Information – Gobiesocidae

The Clingfish Family – Gobiesocidae

There are two members of the Clingfish Family currently presented in this website:

Panamic Clingfish, Gobiesox adustus.

Zebra Clingfish, Tomicodon zebra

The fish of the Clingfish or Gobiesocidae family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as chupapiedras. Members of this family are found globally in tropical and warm temperate seas normally in shallow water marine and freshwater habitats. Globally the family has one hundred forty-one species that have been placed in forty-five genera, of which seventeen are found in Mexican waters, thirteen in the Atlantic and four in the Pacific.

The Clingfish are small to modest-sized fish that reach a maximum length of 30 cm (12 inches), however, most measure less than 6.0 cm (2.4 inches). They are gray, green, or dark brown dorsally often patterned with spots, reticulations, or bars; their ventral sides are uniformly off-white. Many are able to quickly change colors to match their backgrounds. They have flattened elongated tapering bodies and flattened heads with eyes on the upper side of the head. Their mouth opens at the front. They have a single anal fin and a single dorsal fin, both at the rear of their body. Their pelvic fins have four rays fused together to form a sucking disc at the front of their belly; the last pelvic fin ray joins the pectoral fin. Their skin is smooth and without scales.

The Clingfish are uniquely suited for survival in coastal area with strong surf. Many are able to survive out of water for a couple of days in moist sand by covering themselves with thick mucus. They utilize their disc to attached to rocks, sessile invertebrates (including sea urchins), and weeds; a few can be found attached to large fish. They feed on algae, zooplankton, and benthic invertebrates. Reproduction varies by species but most females lay their eggs under rocks in the intertidal zone and are guarded by males for several weeks until hatching.