Starry Goby, Asterropteryx semipunctata Rüppell 1830

Other Names: Star-finned Gudgeon

A Starry Goby, Asterropteryx semipunctatus, at South West Rocks, New South Wales, April 2013. Source: Sascha Schultz / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A small tan to blackish goby with irregular rows of pale bright bluish spots, small elongate dark spots on the midside and short vertical bars or saddles on the upper side.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Asterropteryx semipunctata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 09 Jun 2023,

Starry Goby, Asterropteryx semipunctata Rüppell 1830

More Info


Houtman Abrolhos to North Reef and Rowley Shoals, Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and the far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to Sydney, New South Wales; also Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-Pacific.
Inhabits sandy/rubble areas in shallow protected bays, coral reefs, lagoons and tidal estuaries.


Dorsal fin VI + I, 9-11; Anal fin I, 8-9; Pectoral fin 16-17; Longitudinal scale series 23-25. 
Body relatively short, compressed, body depth 3.0-3.6 in SL. Head compressed; head scaled except snout and interorbital space; 3-9 close-set spines on edge of preopercle just above angle. Sensory canals and pores present on head; cheek with distinct transverse pattern of sensory-papillae rows; a pair of short longitudinal rows of sensory papillae just behind chin.
Scales mostly ctenoid; pectoral-fin base and breast with cycloid scales; anterior part of cheek and branchiostegal membrane with cycloid scales; posterior part of cheek and operculum with ctenoid scales. 
Third dorsal-fin spine elongate, filamentous in adults; caudal fin rounded; pelvic fins almost separated, pelvic frenum absent.

Species Citation

Asterropteryx semipunctatus Rüppell, 1830, Fische des Rothen Meeres 3: 138, pl. 34, fig. 4. Type locality: Red Sea.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Starry Goby, Asterropteryx semipunctata Rüppell 1830


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2.

Allen, G.R. & W.F. Smith-Vaniz. 1994. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Res. Bull. 412: 21 p.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Bleeker, P. 1855. Derde bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van de Kokos-eilanden. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 8: 169-180 (as Eleotris cyanostigma)

Cole, K.S. 1990. Patterns of gonad structure in hermaphroditic gobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Environ. Biol. Fish. 28: 125-142.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2.

Hernaman, V. & Munday, P.L. 2005. Life-history characteristics of coral reef gobies. I. Growth and life span. Marine Ecology Progress Series 290: 207-221.

Hernaman, V. & Munday, P.L. 2005. Life-history characteristics of coral reef gobies. II. Mortality rate, mating system and timing of maturation. Marine Ecology Progress Series 290:223-237.

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S .J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands: new records, community composition and biogeographic significance. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 203–219

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6 

Hutchins, J.B. 1997. Checklist of fishes of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. pp. 239-253 in Wells, F. (ed.) The Marine Fauna and Flora of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum.

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343-398.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. In Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3): 299-353.

Koumans, F.P. 1953. The Fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. Gobioidea. Leiden : Brill Vol. 10 423 pp. 95 figs. (as Eleotris cyanostigma)

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Moore, G. & Morrison, S. 2009. Fishes of three North West Shelf atolls off Western Australia: Mermaid (Rowley Shoals), Scott and Seringapatam Reefs. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 77: 221-255

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Rüppell, W.P.E. 1830. Atlas zu der Reise im nördlichen Afrika. Fische des Rothen Meeres. 3. Frankfurt : H.L. Brünner 95-141 pls 25-35.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2.

Whitley, G.P. 1932. Fishes. Scientific Reports of the Great Barrier Reef Expedition 1928-1929 4(9): 267-316 figs 1-5 pls 1-4 (as Asterropterix semipunctatus quisqualis)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428058

Depth:1-20 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:4 cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map