British Wildlife Wiki
Black Goby (NP), Furnace

Black Goby

The Black Goby (Gobius niger) can grow to 17c

22 Apr 09 - Torbay - Gobius niger, Black goby

Black Goby


Medium-sized goby (a family of small fishes with a notorious reputation of being difficult to differentiate, characterised by a pair of dorsal fins, and a pelvic fin fused into a weak suction cup). The first dorsal fins are elongate, especially the third and/or fourth spine, in this species (but not in Gobius paganellus) during the breeding season. (Note the fish in the upper picture has suffered a split tail - not a usual feature) Colouration is cream, fawn or sandy with black blotches, sometimes it will appear black. In breeding coloration the elongate first dorsal fin is distinctive.

Similar Species[]

Rock Goby (Gobius paganellus). Colour scheme, size and habitats are the same as the Dragonet (Callionymus lyra).


Spring around the British coasts. Male fish turns a blacker tinge when guarding the nest. The third spine of the first dorsal fin is longer than the others and this is never the case with the similar Rock Goby.

32-45 scales on the lateral line, less than the Rock Goby.


In sandy areas, usually with rock as well, below low water mark and sometimes found intertidally in large pools. The adults are found at low water mark in late summer and autumn.


Small crustaceans, worms, small fish.


Off all the coasts of Britain and further afield, Baltic, in the shallow seas off the coast of southern Norway, France, Spain, Portugal, temperate Africa, Mediteranean., Black Sea.

Additional Notes: Common.


The Aquarium Project