Common name: Gudgeons


Small to medium-sized fishes that are closely related to gobies (family Gobiidae). Eleotrids have a long robust rounded to compressed body, a short broad head with a blunt snout, a large, oblique mouth, two short-based dorsal fins, the second closer to the  first than to the tail base, and completely separate pelvic fins. The head and body are completely scaled, and the lateral line is absent. 

Cite this page as:
Douglass F. Hoese & Dianne J. Bray, Gudgeons, ELEOTRIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

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Family Taxonomy

 Currently, 18 genera and 42 described species are known from Australia as well as one species of Eleotris of uncertain identity, one undescribed species of Philypnodon and three undescribed species of Hypseleotris.

Family Distribution

Gudgeons are found worldwide in freshwater, estuarine and marine environments in tropical and warm temperate regions. Most species occur in freshwater or estuarine environments (typically associated with mangroves). A few small-sized species occur on rocky or coral reef environments (Calumia and Thalasseleotris).

Family Size

Eleotrids are small to medium sized, ranging from 2 to 50 cm.

Family Feeding

Most species live on the bottom where they feed on benthic invertebrates, especially crustaceans; a few species swim in the water column and feed on zooplankton.


Douglass F. Hoese & Dianne J. Bray


Allen, G.R. & Jenkins, A.P. (1999). A review of the Australian freshwater gudgeons, genus Mogurnda (Eleotridae) with descriptions of three new species.  Aqua, J. Ichthyol. Aquat. Biol. 3(4): 141–155.

Hoese, D.F. (1984). Gobioidei: Relationships. In Moser, H.G. et al. (eds).  Systematics and Ontogeny of Fishes. Am. Soc. Ichthyol. Herpetol. Spec. Publ. 1: 588–591

Hoese, D.F. & Allen, G.R. (1983). A review of the gudgeon genus Hypseleotris (Pisces : Eleotridae) of Western Australia, with descriptions of three new species. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 10(3): 243–261 figs 1–6

Hoese, D.F. & Gill, A. (1993). Phylogenetic relationships of eleotridid fishes (Perciformes: Gobioidei). Bull. Mar. Sci. 52(1): 415–440

Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. (1994). Family Eleotrididae.  pp. 810–813, figs 715–717 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, J.C.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) The Fishes of Australia's South Coast.  Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs

Hoese, D.F., Larson, H.K. & Llewellyn, L.C. (1980). Family Eleotridae: gudgeons.  pp. 169–185 19 figs in McDowall, R.M. (ed.) Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia.  Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 208 pp. figs

Larson, H.K. & Hoese, D.F. (1980). The species of the Indo-west Pacific genus Calumia (Pisces : Eleotridae). Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 104(1): 17–22 figs 1–4

Larson, H.K. & Murdy, E.O. (2001). Eleotridae, Gobiidae.  pp. 3574–3604 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381–4218

McDowall, R.M. (1996). Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia.  Sydney : Reed Books 2nd Edn  247 pp.

Nelson, J.S. (1994). Fishes of the World.  New York : John Wiley & Sons 3rd Edn  600 pp.