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Author: (Günther, 1861)

Neogobius kessleri (Günther, 1861)

Diagnosis: nape scaled completely, scales ctenoid. Head depth 0.9 to equalling width. Inter-orbit 0.8 to slightly less than eye diameter. Angle of jaws below pupil. Snout 1.5-1.6 orbit. Upper lip of almost uniform width, not exceeding two-thirds of lateral pre-orbital area. Pelvic disc about 0.8 abdomen length, anterior membrane with moderately large, angular lateral lobes, about 0.2-0.3 width of rear edge. Caud1al peduncle depth 0.6-0.75 own length. Dl VI (V-VII); D2 I + 16-18 (16-19); A I + 13-15 (13-16); P 19-20 (18-21). Scales in lateral series 68-74 (64-76). Vertebrae 34-35 (33-35). Colour: reddish-yellow to dark grey with dark brown to black spots and markings. Size: to 20 cm (Black Sea).

Habitat: fresh and brackish water, lower rivers, and lagoons, on rocky bottom or in reed thickets. Food: crustaceans (mysids, corophiid amphipods), and small fish (gobies). Reproduction: March-April (Romania).

Distribution: north-western Black Sea, Caspian Sea and tributaries.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. No data.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.

Subspecies

Neogobius kessleri kessleri: Black Sea.
Neogobius kessleri gorlap (lljin, in Berg, 1949): paler coloration, more slender caudal peduncle; Caspian Sea (discussed by Pinchuk, 1977).

Bighead goby (Neogobius kessleri)