Exquisite Pygmy Goby, Trimma hamartium Winterbottom 2018

Other Names: Exquisite Pygmygoby, Mistaken Pygmy Goby, Splendid Dwarfgoby

An Exquisite Pygmy Goby, Trimma preclarum, from Kayangel Atoll, Palau - male paratype ROM 80020. Source: Rick Winterbottom / FishWise Professional. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

In Australia, this species was previously referred to as Trimma preclarum, a species that occurs in Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Palau.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Trimma hamartium in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/5182

Exquisite Pygmy Goby, Trimma hamartium Winterbottom 2018

More Info


Outer Great Barrier Reef islands, and reefs in the Coral Sea south to Coffs Harbour, New South Wales: Ashmore Reef, Holmes Reef, Lihou Reef and Herald Cays, Coral Sea, Escape Reef, Queensland to Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, west-central Pacific: Fiji, Niue, eastern Australia, the Solomon Islands, NE Indonesia and Abaiang Atoll, Kiribati.

Inhabits reef drop-offs and walls with small caves, and rubble areas in 12-100 m. 


Dorsal fin VI + I, 9; Anal fin I, 8-9; Pectoral fin 17-19; Gill rakers 3-5 + 13-15 = 17-19; Lateral line scales 23-24. 
Predorsal scales present, 8–9 scales in predorsal midline; scales absent from the cheeks and opercle; second and third dorsal-fin spines elongate; moderate interorbital and postorbital trenches; opercular scales absent. Pectoral fin with with 5–10 branched rays in the middle of the fin, an unbranched 5th pelvic-fin ray that is 51–64% the length of 4th ray; second dorsal-fin spine short, reaching to about base of the first ray of the second dorsal fin when abducted; 6 papillae in row c below the eye; bony interorbital U-shaped with a narrow slit-like postorbital trench which ends at the posteriormost papilla in row p.


When freshly collected: head reddish with 3–4 yellow bars on the cheek, a red iris with four yellow spots, a yellow body, lighter posteriorly, with scales pockets outlined with melanophores and scale rows above and below midlateral row much lighter posterior to second dorsal fin origin (giving appearance of three yellow stripes on body); preserved specimens with fairly evenly distributed melanophores over the dorsal surface of the snout.


Winterbottom (2006) described Trimma preclarum from the West Pacific, including Australia's east coast, but later (2018) separated this into 2 species - the newly described T. hamartium (encompassing most of the West Pacific, including Australia's outer Great Barrier Reef islands in depths of 50–60m and reefs in the Coral Sea in depths of 12-25m, Queensland, south to Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, and the true T. preclarum (currently known from Palau, Philippines and Papua New Guinea). 


The specific name hamartia is Greek meaning “...a mistake or error in judgment...”, in allusion to the author’s error in not recognizing the differences between this species and Trimma preclarum when describing the latter. The term encompasses “wrongdoings” which may be either accidental or deliberate.

Species Citation

Trimma hamartium Winterbottom 2018, Zootaxa 4370(2): 124, figs. 1-7. Type locality: Helen Reef, Hatohobei State, Palau [2.91223°N, 131.7443°E].


Bray, D.J. 2018


Exquisite Pygmy Goby, Trimma hamartium Winterbottom 2018


Winterbottom, R. 2006. Two new species of the gobiid fish Trimma from the coral reefs of the western Pacific Ocean (Pisces; Perciformes; Gobioidei). Zootaxa 1331: 55–68 (as Trimma preclarum)

Winterbottom, R. 2018. A new species of Trimma (Pisces; Gobiidae) from the South-West Islands of Palau, western Pacific Ocean. Zootaxa 4370 (2): 123-136. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4370.2.2

Winterbottom, R. & Hoese, D.F. 2015. A revision of the Australian species of Trimma (Actinopterygii, Gobiidae), with descriptions of six new species and redescriptions of twenty-three valid species. Zootaxa 3934: 1-102 (as Trimma preclarum).

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428431

Depth:12-110 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:2 cm SL

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