Notchtongue Goby

Notchtongue Goby, Bathygobius curacao

The Notchtongue Goby, Bathygobius curacao, whose common Spanish name is gobio jaspeado, is a species in the Goby or Gobiidae Family, known collectively as gobios in Mexico. Their common name is derived from the tip of their tongue, which is more deeply notched than in other similar species. Globally, there are twenty-seven species in the genus Bathygobius, five of which are found in Mexican waters, four in the Atlantic and one in the Pacific.

The Notchfin Gobies have robust rounded bodies. They are uniform tan in color with indistinct dark blotches in a linear pattern. In males, the anal fin and second dorsal fin have a tan stripe at the margins. Their caudal fin is dark with thin dark bars. Unlike other similar gobies, their trunk has no apparent coloration pattern. Their head is broad with large eyes set close together, a bluntly rounded snout, and a terminal mouth that extends to the center of the eyes. They are equipped with a narrow band of teeth with the outermost teeth being enlarged. Their anal fin has one spine and 8 rays; their caudal fin is rounded; their dorsal fin has 6 or 7 spines and 9 rays; their pectoral fins are elongated with 15 to 18 rays, three or four of which are freestanding; and their pelvic fins are fused into a disc. They do not have a lateral line and are covered with large rough scales.

The Notchtongue Gobies are a small shallow-water species found in tidal pools along coastal waters including mangrove areas and sheltered seagrass beds at depths up to 15 feet. They reach a maximum length of 7.5 cm (3.0 inches). Very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Notchtongue Gobies are found in all waters of the Atlantic.

The Notchtongue Goby can be confused with the Checkerboard Frillfin, Bathygobius lacertus (lower body with two offset rows of six or seven blotches), the Frillfin Goby, Bathygobius soporator (six or seven blotches on flank), and the Island Frillfin, Bathygobius mystacium (six square blotches below mid-body).

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

Notchtongue Goby, Bathygobius curacao. Fish caught from coastal waters off Spanish Harbor Key, Florida, December 2014. Length: 7.1 cm (2.8 inches). Catch, photo, and identification courtesy of Ben Cantrell, Peoria, IL.