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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Gobiidae
Broad-barred acropora goby
Gobiodon histrio
Family Gobiidae
updated Sep 2020

Where seen? Found only in Acropora hard corals, it is often seen on many of our Southern islands.

Features: 3-4cm. It has a large rounded head, yellowish-green to blue-green body with orange broken stripes and bars and spots. Well hidden among the coral branches, it is hard to see the whole fish. Usually found at the base of the coral branches, so it is hard to spot and photograph. Members of the genus Gobiodon produce a bitter mucus.

Sometimes mistaken for the Machine gun coral shrimp which also lives in Acropora hard corals and is sometimes also green with orange stripes.

Pulau Hantu, Feb 10

Sisters Islands, Dec 05
Coral friend: This fish lives among the branches of Acropora hard corals. A study showed that this fish almost never leaves its coral home and stays despite low oxygen levels in the water and even when the coral is exposed at low tide. To do so, the fish is able to breathe air! There is rarely more than two of these fishes in one colony of Acropora coral. They can change gender from male to female or female to male.

Human uses: Unfortunately, these fishes are often harvested from the wild for the aquarium trade.

Broad-barred acropora gobies on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Tanah Merah, Jun 10
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.

Kusu Island, Jun 21
Photo shared by James Koh on facebook.

Kusu Island, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Kusu Island, May 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Pulau Hantu, Feb 10
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr

Pulau Semakau East, Jul 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Pulau Semakau East, Jul 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Terumbu Pempang Laut, May 12
Photo shared by James Koh on flickr.

Raffles Lighthouse, Nov 16
Photo shared by Heng Pei Yan on facebook..

  • Larson, Helen K and Kelvin K. P. Lim. 2005. A Guide to Gobies of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 164pp.
  • Coward or braveheart: extreme habitat fidelity through hypoxia tolerance in a coral-dwelling goby by Goran E. Nilsson, Jean-Paul Hobbs, Philip L. Munday and Sara Ostlund-Nilsson First published online November 24, 2003 Journal of Experimental Biology 207, 33-39 (2004)
  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
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