Black Stiphodon, Stiphodon pelewensis Herre 1936

Other Names: Black stiphodon, Daintree Cling Goby, Palauan Stiphodon Goby

A male Black Stiphodon, Stiphodon atratus, from Fergusson Island, D’Entrecasteaux Islands, Papua New Guinea. Source: Gerald R. Allen. License: All rights reserved

Males are brownish with 5-6 indistinct bars between the second dorsal and anal fins, a metallic green head, and reddish-brown to dusky second dorsal and anal fins. Females have a dark mid-lateral stripe and dark blotches on the caudal peduncle.

In Australia, this species was previously identified as Stiphodon atratus, a junior synonym of S. pelewensis.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Stiphodon pelewensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

Black Stiphodon, Stiphodon pelewensis Herre 1936

More Info


North of Cooktown to south of Cairns, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the west Pacific: Palau, New Guinea, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Adults inhabit steep-gradient rainforest fast-flowing streams that flow directly to the sea. These streams have high oxygen levels and rocky substrates comprised of bouders and pebbles. The gobies occur in pools and riffle zones, swimming near the bottom or clinging to rocks with their fused disc-like pelvic fins.


Dorsal fin VI - I,9-10; Anal fin I,9-11; Pectoral fin 14-16; Lateral scales series 30-33.


Grazes on algal biofilms, occasionally ingesting benthic invertebrates.


Species in the genus Stiphodon are amphidromous and live in steep gradient coastal rainforest streams. Females spawn adhesive demersal eggs in freshwater. After hatching, the larvae are carried out to the sea, and migrate back to freshwater streams as post-larvae.


The species is named pelewensis for the Pelew Islands (= Palau), the type locality.

Species Citation

Stiphodon pelewensis Herre 1936, Philippine Journal of Science 59(2): 282. Type locality: Koror Island, Palau Islands (as Gorror, Pelew Islands).


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Black Stiphodon, Stiphodon pelewensis Herre 1936


Ebner, B.C., Thuesen, P.A., Larson, H. & Keith, P. 2012. A review of distribution, field observations and precautionary conservation requirements for sicydiine gobies in Australia. Cybium 35: 397–414. (as Stiphodon atratus)

Ebner, B.C. & Thuesen, P. 2011. Discovery of stream-cling-goby assemblages (Stiphodon species) in the Australian Wet Tropics. Australian Journal of Zoology 58: 331–340. (as Stiphodon atratus)

Herre, A.W. 1936. Fishes in the Zoological Museum of Stanford University. 3. New genera and species of gobies and blennies and a new Myxus from the Pelew Island and Celebes. Philippine Journal of Science 59(2): 275-287 figs 1-3 pl. 1

Jaafar, Z. 2019. Stiphodon pelewensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T142323988A129052929. Accessed on 28 February 2023.

Keith, P., Lord, C. & Maeda, K. 2015. Indo-Pacific Sicydiine Gobies Biodiversity, life traits and conservation. Paris : Société Française d'Ichtyologie 256 pp. 

Keith, P., Marquet, G., Lord, C., Kalfatak, D. & Vigneux, E. 2010. Poissons et crustacés d'eau douce du Vanuatu. Paris : Société Française d'Ichtyologie 253 pp.

Larson, H.K. & Murdy, E.O. 2001. Eleotridae, Gobiidae. pp. 3574-3604 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.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.

Marquet, G., Keith, P. & Vigneux, E. 2003. Atlas des poissons et des crustacés d'eau douce de Nouvelle-Calédonie. Patrimoines naturels (M.N.H.N./S.P.N.) 58: 1-282. (as Stiphodon atratus)

Taillebois, L., Castelin, M., Ovenden, J.R., Bonillo, C. & Keith, P. 2013. Contrasting genetic structure among populations of two amphidromous fish species (Sicydiinae) in the Central West Pacific. PLoS ONE 8(10): e75465,

Thuesen, P.A. 2004. Biological barriers to gene flow and population genetic structure of an endemic rainbow-fish, Cairnsichthys rhombosomoides. B.Sc.(Honours) Thesis, James Cook University, Townsville (as Stiphodon sp.)

Thuesen, P.A., Ebner, B.C., Larson, H.K., Keith, P., Silcock, R.M., Prince, J. & Russell, D.J. 2011. Amphidromy links a newly documented fish community of continental Australian streams, to oceanic islands of the west Pacific. PLoS ONE 6(10): e26685 (11 pages) (as Stiphodon atratus

Watson, R.E. 1996. A review of Stiphodon from New Guinea and adjacent regions, with descriptions of five new species (Teleostei : Gobiidae: Sicydiinae). Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpétologie 23(3–4): 113-132 figs 1-24.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428405


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Habitat:Freshwater, marine larvae

Max Size:8 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map