Blue-spotted Coral-goby, Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker 1875

Other Names: Red-spotted Coralgoby

A Blue-spotted Coral-goby, Gobiodon erythrospilus, in an aquarium at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Phil Munday / Lizard Island Field Guide, License: CC by Attribution

A green coralgoby with five vertical red lines (those on cheek and gill cover do not extend above eye level), no small black spot on the upper rear of the gill cover, and 3-8 series of round or elongate red spots along the side that may join to form stripes. Juveniles have additional vertical blue lines on the body. The species lives amongst the branches of table-like Acropora corals. Coralgobies are capable of changing sex in both directions.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Gobiodon erythrospilus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Dec 2022,

Blue-spotted Coral-goby, Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker 1875

More Info


Northern Territory, and the far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to the Solitary Islands, New South Wales; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical; east-Indo west Pacific. The Blue-spotted Coral-goby may be more widespread in Australia as it has been misidentified as Gobiodon histrio.

A reef-associated species, commonly living in association with Acropora table-like corals (A. nasuta, A. valida, A millepora and A. tenuis) at depths to 12 m..


Dorsal fin VI + I,10-11; Anal fin I, 8-10; Pectroal fin 19-21; Caudal fin 6-7 upper or lower unsegmented rays; Vertebrae 26.


Australia; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Disputed Territory (Spratly Is.); Indonesia; Japan; Malaysia; Marshall Islands; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Solomon Islands; Taiwan, Province of China; Timor-Leste


Body yellowish-green to sky-blue, with numerous reddish spots and stripes; 5-6 (usually 5) vertical reddish bars on head and pectoral-fin base, those on cheek and operculum relatively short, usually not or just reaching dorsally beyond dorsal margin of eye; body with 3-8 longitudinal series of rounded or longitudinally elongate scarlet/reddish spots, sometimes joined to form longitudinal stripes; dorsal, anal and caudal fins pale yellow with very narrow black distal margins; no black spot at dorsoposterior corner of operculum.


Species of Gobiodon are hermaphrodites, and are capable of changing sex from male to female and female to male. 
Gobiodon species also possess skin toxins that may deter predators.


Species of Gobiodon are obligate coral dwellers, living their entire lives as adults among the branches of Acropora corals.


Often confused with Gobiodon histrio.


The specific name erythrospilus is from the Greek erythros (= red) and spilos (= mark, spot), in reference to the red stripes and spots on the head and body.

Species Citation

Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker, 1875, Arch. Néerland. Sci. Nat. 10: 122. Type locality: East Indies (lectotype RMNH.PISC.6187).


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Blue-spotted Coral-goby, Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker 1875


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

Bleeker, P. 1875. Gobioideorum species insulindicae novae. Archives Néerlandaises des Sciences Naturelles 10: 113-134.

Duchene, D., Klanten, S.O., Munday, P.L., Herler, J. & van Herwerden, L. 2013. Phylogenetic evidence for recent diversification of obligate coral-dwelling gobies compared with their host corals. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69: 123–132.

Harold, A.S., Winterbottom, R., Munday, P.L. & Chapman, R.W. 2008. Phylogenetic relationships of Indo-Pacific coral gobies of the genus Gobiodon (Teleostei: Gobiidae), based on morphological and molecular data. Bulletin of Marine Science 82(1): 119-136 See ref online

Herler, J., Bogorodsky, S.V. & T. Suzuki, T. 2013. Four new species of coral gobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Gobiodon), with comments on their relationships within the genus. Zootaxa 3709(4): 301-329.

Herler, J., Koblmüller, S. & Sturmbauer, C. 2009. Phylogenetic relationships of coral-associated gobies (Teleostei, Gobiidae) from the Red Sea based on mitochondrial DNA data. Marine Biology 156: 725-739.

Hobbs, J.-P.A., P.L. Munday, P.L. & Jones, G.P. 2004. Social induction of maturation and sex determination in a coral reef fish, Proceedings of the Royal Society B 271: 2109-2114

Kroon, F.J., Munday, P.L. & Westcott, D.A. 2009. Equivalent whole-body concentrations of 11-ketotestosterone in female and male goby Gobiodon erythrospilus, a bidirectional sex-changing fish. Journal of Fish Biology 75: 685-692

Larson, H. 2020. Gobiodon erythrospilus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T68330883A68333739. Downloaded on 25 February 2021.

Munday, P.L. 2004. Competitive coexistence of coral-dwelling fishes: the lottery hypothesis revisited. Ecology 85(3): 623-628.

Munro, I.S.R. 1967. The Fishes of New Guinea. Port Moresby : Dept. Agric. Stock Fish. 651 pp. 23 figs 84 pls.

Pereira, P.H.C. & Munday, P.L. 2016. Coral colony size and structure as determinants of habitat use and fitness of coral-dwelling fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 553: 163-172.

Pereira, P.H.C., P.L. Munday, P.L. & Jones, G.P. 2015. Competitive mechanisms change with ontogeny in coral-dwelling gobies. Ecology 96(11): 3090-3101

Schubert, M., Munday, P.L., Caley M.J., Jones, G.P. & Llewellyn, L.E. 2003. The toxicity of skin secretions from coral-dwelling gobies and their potential role as a predator deterrent. Environmental Biology of Fishes 67(4): 359-367

Shibukawa, K., Suzuki, T. & Aizawa, M. 2013. Gobiodon aoyagii, a new coral goby (Actinopterygii, Gobiidae, Gobiinae) from the West Pacific, with redescription of a similarly colored congener Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker, 1875. Bulletin of the National Museum of Natural Science, Series A 39(3): 143-165.

Sørensen, C., Munday, P.L. & Nilsson, G.E. 2014. Aerobic vs. anaerobic scope: sibling species of fish indicate that temperature dependence of hypoxia tolerance can predict future survival, Global Change Biology 20(3): 724-729. 

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.

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 (133, in part as Gobiodon histrio)

Schubert, M., Munday, P.L., Caley, M.J., Jones, G.P. & Llewellyn, L.E. 2003. The toxicity of skin secretions from coral-dwelling gobies and their potential role as a predator deterrent, Environmental Biology of Fishes 67: 359-367.

Shibukawa, K., Suzuki, T. & Aizama, M. 2013. Gobiodon aoyagii, a new coral goby (Actinopterygii, Gobiidae, Gobiinae) from the West Pacific, with redescription of a similarly-colored congener Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker, 1875. Bulletin of the National Museum of Nature and Science (Ser. A) 39(3): 143-165.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428471

Behaviour:Commensal on Acropora corals


Conservation:IUCN Vulnerable

Depth:0-12 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:4.5 cm SL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map