fishes text index | photo index
Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Gobiidae
Ornate lagoon-goby
Istigobius ornatus
Family Gobiidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This decorative and rather large goby is commonly seen on many of our shores, sheltering in pools among coral rubble, near seagrasses and living reefs. Usually seen alone, but many individuals can be spaced apart over a small area. Sometimes, lots of small ones can be seen schooling close together at low tide.

Features: Large for a goby, it grows to about 10cm. Those seen usually about 8cm. Bulbous snout that overhangs the mouth, with thick lips. On the side of the body, two rows of black or dark dashes. It is indeed ornately decorated with red and blue speckles.

Sometimes confused with the Black-spotted lagoon-goby (Istigobius goldmanni) which has pairs of close-set round black spots along the side of the body.

What does it eat? It eats small bottom-dwelling creatures.

Human uses: It commercially collected for the aquarium trade.

Tanah Merah, Jun 09

Raffles Lighthouse, Jul 06

Tanah Merah, Oct 09

Sometimes, lots of little ones are seen.
St. John's Island, May 07

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Ornate lagoon-gobies on Singapore shores

Photos of Ornate lagoon-gobies for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Berlayar Creek, Oct 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Terumbu Selegie, Jan 17

Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.

Terumbu Buran, Nov 10
Photo shared by Russel Low on facebook.



  • Larson, Helen K and Kelvin K. P. Lim. 2005. A Guide to Gobies of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 164pp.
  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H. 2002. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia: A Comprehensive Reference for Divers & Fishermen New Holland Publishers. 434pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
links | references | about | email Ria
Spot errors? Have a question? Want to share your sightings? email Ria I'll be glad to hear from you!
wildfactsheets website©ria tan 2008