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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Gobiidae
Ornate lagoon-goby
Istigobius ornatus
Family Gobiidae
updated Sep 2020

Where seen? This decorative and rather large goby is commonly seen on many of our shores, at low tide 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 many 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.

Changi, Jun 03

Two rows of dark or black dashes along the side of the body.
Tanah Merah, Aug 11

Sometimes, a group of many small ones are seen in a pool at low tide.
St. John's Island, May 07
What does it eat? It eats small bottom-dwelling creatures.

Human uses: It commercially collected for the aquarium trade.

*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
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

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.

St John's Island, Oct 20
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng 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.
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