Crested Goby

Crested Goby, Lophogobius cyprinoides

The Crested Goby, Lophogobius cyprinoides, whose Spanish common name is gobio bonito or gobio gallo, is a species in the Gobie or Gobiidae Family, known collectively as gobios in Mexico. Its common name stems from the high crest that extends from just before the dorsal fin to the middle of the eyes. Globally, there are two species in the genus Lophogobius, with the species described here being found in Mexican waters of the Atlantic.

The Crested Gobies have robust, somewhat compressed, and rounded bodies. They are dymorphic. Females are lighter in color with the following characteristics: their upper head and body are mottled with blotches of olive-brown to red-brown; their cheeks and gill covers are covered with pale spots; several pale lines radiate from behind their eyes; their tail has wavy bars; and their other fins are uniformly colored. Males are darker in color; they have black dorsal fins with orange blotches at the rear and turn dark violet to black when breeding. Juveniles have brown blotches at the rear, pale stripes at the front of their body, and a pale blotch bordered by a dark bar on the outer half of their first dorsal fin. Their head has a rounded snout with a large depression below and in front of the eyes. They have an oblique terminal mouth that extends to the middle of the eyes and is equipped with teeth set in bands. Their anal fin has one spine and nine rays; their caudal fin is rounded; their dorsal fin has six spines, the fourth of which being the longest, followed by one spine and 10 rays; their pectoral fins are elongated reaching past the anal fin origin with 16 to 20 rays; and their pelvic fins are fused into a disc. They do not have a lateral line and are covered with large rough scales.

The Crested Gobies are non-migratory and found in tidal pools along coastal waters including mangrove areas and sheltered seagrass beds in both coastal and freshwater environments at depths up to 20 feet. They reach a maximum length of 11.0 cm (4.3 inches). They feed on algae, bivalves, crustaceans, gastropods, and worms. In turn they are preyed upon by a wide variety of carnivores. They reproduce as protogynous hermaphrodites with pelagic larvae. They are a small shallow-water species and very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Crested Gobies are found in all waters of the Atlantic. They are one of the few species to have made its way through the Panama Canal and can be found in Panama waters of the Pacific.

The Crested Goby is similar to, and can be confused with, the Bartail Goby, Coryphopterus thrix, the Bridled Goby, Coryphopterus glaucofraenum, and the Colon Goby, Coryphopterus dicrus, but none of them have a crest on their upper nape.

Due to their small size, the Crested Gobies are of limited interest to most. From a conservation perspective they are abundant with a wide distribution and are currently classified as of Least Concern.

Crested Goby, Lophogobius cyprinoides, Male. Fish caught from coastal waters off Punta Gorda, Florida, March 2017. Length: 6.6 cm (2.6 inches). Catch, photo, and identification courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Crested Goby, Lophogobius cyprinoides, Female. Fish caught from coastal brackish waters off Miami, Florida, December 2014. Length: 7.6 cm (3.0 inches). Catch, photo, and identification courtesy of Ben Cantrell, Peoria, IL.

Crested Goby, Lophogobius cyprinoides, Male. Fish caught from coastal brackish waters off Miami, Florida, December 2014. Length: 7.8 cm (3.1 inches). Catch, photo, and identification courtesy of Ben Cantrell, Peoria, IL.

Crested Goby, Lophogobius cyprinoides, Male. Fish caught from coastal waters off Punta Gorda, Florida, March 2017. Length: 9.5 cm (3.7 inches). Catch, photo, and identification courtesy of George Brinkman, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.