Panamic Clingfish, Gobiesox adustus
The Panamic Clingfish, Gobiesox adustus, whose common Spanish name is chupapiedras panámica, is a species in the Clingfish or Gobiesocidae Family, collectively known as chupapiedras in Mexico. Globally, there are twenty-nine species in the genus Gobiesox, seven of which are found in Mexican waters, two in the Atlantic and five in the Pacific.
The Panamic Clingfish have elongated “tadpole” like bodies. They are tan in color dorsally, with numerous light brown and blue spots separated by fine blue lines, and are off-white ventrally. They have a series of wide subtle dark bars across their body including their caudal fin and a dark spot at the front of their dorsal fin. Their head is broad and their mouth has a broad top lip and numerous conical teeth at the front and a row of recurved canines on each side. Their anal fin has 9 or 10 rays. Their dorsal fin is located well back on the body and has 11 rays but no spines. The sucker on their ventral side is disproportionately large. A key to identification is the location of the anus which is equidistant from the anal fin origin and the rear margin of the disc and is well in front of the dorsal fin origin. Their skin is smooth and has no scales.
The Panamic Clingfish are a shallow-water species found in rocky areas within tidal pools exposed to high surf at depths up to 30 feet. They reach a maximum length of 6.2 cm (2.4 inches). They feed primarily on barnacles and small crustaceans. Very little is known about their behavioral patterns.
In Mexican waters the Panamic Clingfish are found in all waters of the Pacific with the exception that they are absent from the northern 20% of the Sea of Cortez and along the west coast of Baja.
The Panamic Clingfish is a fairly easy fish to identify due to its coloration and the bars on its caudal fin and back.
The Panamic Clingfish are too small to be of interest to most and are typically a “catch-and-release.”
Panamic Clingfish, Gobiesox adustus. Fish collected from a tidal pool at Km 17, El Tule, Baja California Sur, January 2013. Length: 1.5 cm (0.6 inches).