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Author: Linnaeus, 1758

Gobius niger Linnaeus, 1758

Diagnosis: lateral line system with sub-orbital row d continuous, row x1 ending anteriorly behind pore b, and pore a behind eye on course of oculoscapular canal; pores may be relatively large. Nape scaled, to varying extent; cheek naked. Anterior nostril with flap on rim. Pectoral free rays moderately developed. Pelvic disc rounded to oblong; anterior membrane without prominent lateral lobes. D1 VI (V-VII), rays elongate; D2 I + 12-13 (11-13); A I + 11-12 (10 13); P 17-19 (15-20). Scales in lateral series 35-41(32-42). Vertebrae 28 (27-29). Colour: pale brown, with lateral dark blotches and spots; males dusky; dark blotch in upper anterior corner of each dorsal fin; branchiostegal membrane dark. Size: to 15 cm.

Habitat: estuaries, lagoons and inshore waters, to 50-75 m, on sand or mud, in sea-grass or algae, rarely intertidal at ELWS. Food: crustaceans (larger amphipods, isopods, shrimps, mysids, small crabs), bivalves, gastropods, polychaetes, chironomid larvae, sometimes small fish. Reproduction: March-May (Naples), April early June (Veerse Meer, the Netherlands), May-August (Baltic), April-September (Varna, Black Sea); repeat spawning. Eggs spindle-shaped, blunt apex, 1.5 x 0.45 mm, under stones and shells; hatch at 2.5 mm. Sexually mature at 2 years. Lifespan: at least 4 years.

Distribution: eastern Atlantic, from Norway and Baltic Sea to Mauritania, Mediterranean and Black Sea, including Sea of Azov; Suez Canal and northern Gulf of Suez. Also from Canaries (Miller, 1984).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Holt, 1891b: 441, pl. 47 (fig. 12) | Petersen, 1891: 1, pl. 1a (fig. 1-3), pl. 1b (fig. 46) | Raffaele, 1898: 330 | Ehrenbaum & Strodmann, 1904: 108, fig. 13 | Lo Bianco, 1909: 717 | Petersen, 1917: 8, pl. | (fig. 1-6); 1919: 54, pl. | (fig. 20-22), pl. 2 (fig. 13-14) | Lebour, 1919: 74, pl. 4, (fig. 24) | Sparta, 1934b: 1, fig. 1-7 | Padoa, 1953: 665, fig. 550-559 | Vodjanitzki & Kazanova, 1954: fig. 60 (3 fig.) | Ballard, 1969: 1, fig. 1-6 | Russell, 1976: 259, fig. 63-64.
Otoliths (sagitta). Retzius, 1881: 64, pl. X (fig. 1-2) | Koken, 1884: 540, pl. X (fig. 12) | Fryd, 1901: 23 | Scott, 1906: 58, pl. IIB (fig. 19-20), pl. V (fig. 6) | Sanz Echeverría, 1928: 157, fig. 21 | Werner, 1928: 524, 572, fig. 17 | Frost, 1929a: 126, pl. II (fig. 1) | Bauzá-Rullán, 1960b: 57-58, 61, pl. VI (fig. 34-38), pl. VII (fig. 45-47).

Subspecies

Gobius niger niger: nape scales smaller, coverage incomplete; eastern Atlantic.


Gobius niger jozo L.: nape scales larger, imbricate; Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Black goby (Gobius niger)