Gobiodon aoyagii Shibukawai, Suzuki & Aizawa 2013

Gobiodon aoyagii in an aquarium at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Phil Munday / Lizard Island Field Guide, http://lifg.australianmuseum.net.au/. License: CC by Attribution

A yellowish-green to sky blue coralgoby with many reddish spots and/or stripes on the head and body, including 2 round reddish spots on the pectoral-fin base, and reddish spots on the ventral surface of the head.
Coralgobies live in symbiotic relationships with stony corals - usually of the genus Acropora - relying on the corals for shelter, food and a site for reproduction.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Gobiodon aoyagii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 Jan 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/5304

Gobiodon aoyagii Shibukawai, Suzuki & Aizawa 2013

More Info


Recorded from the Lizard Island area. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical west Pacific.
Inhabits branches of table-like corals, usually Acropora nasuta, also A. valida, A. millepora (the coarse branched form) and sometimes A. tenuis. At Lizard Island this species has only been seen sheltering among branches of Acropora tenuis (Anne Hoggett, Lizard Island Field Guide)


Head and body greenish-yellow, slightly darkened dorsally; numerous scarlet circular spots on head and body, including snout, ventral surface of head and pectoral-fin base; each scarlet spots subequal or smaller than eye, and some of them fused; short vertical scarlet bar below eye; iris bright yellow green, with 2 small scarlet spots dorsoventrally; fins pale greenish yellow, subtranslucent; a series of 3 small circular scarlet spots on anteroventral part of second dorsal fin


Coralgobies can change sex during their life. Remarkably, they can change sex in both directions, from male to female (protandrous), and from female to male (protogynous).

Similar Species

Gobiodon aoyagii differs from G. erythrospilus and G. histrio in having two reddish circular spots (rather than linear spots) on the pectoral-fin base (vs. reddish markings on the pectoral-fin base usually forming vertical bars in G. erythrospilus and G. histrio, except for small specimens of G. erythrospilus with discontinuous bars); reddish spots on ventral surface of head (vs. absent); no reddish crescent-like bar along bases of pectoral-fin rays (vs. present). 
G. aoyagii can be readily identified by its unique squamation of 3–4 rows of weakly ctenoid and/or cycloid scales on the caudal peduncle (vs. scales absent or a single row of minute cycloid scales on caudal peduncle in the congeners); and by having the following combination of characters: a deep, inflected interopercular-isthmus groove; each 4–6 upper and lower unsegmented caudal-fin rays; no distinct dusky spot at dorsoposterior corner of operculum.

Species Citation

Gobiodon aoyagii Shibukawa, Susuki & Aizawa 2013, Bull. Nat. Mus. Nat. Sci. A 39(3): 147, figs. 1A, 2A–I, 3, 4C, 5C. Type locality: Barasu, Iriomote-jima Island, Yaeyama Group of Ryukyu Islands, Japan. 


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Gobiodon aoyagii Shibukawai, Suzuki & Aizawa 2013


Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 2006. Family Gobiidae. pp. 1612-1697 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. (in part as Gobiodon histrio)

Munday, P.L., Harold, A.S. & Winterbottom, R.W. 1999. Guide to coral-dwelling gobies, genus Gobiodon (Gobiidae) from Papua New Guinea and the Great Barrier Reef. Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpétologie 26: 53-58. (p. 57, as Gobiodon sp. A)

Shibukawa, K., Susuki, 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 Nature and Science A 39(3): 143-165. PDF Open access

Quick Facts


Depth:2-10 m

Habitat:Reef associated, with Acropora corals

Max Size:3.5 cm TL

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