Scaleless Wormgoby, Caragobius urolepis (Bleeker 1852)

Other Names: Scaleless Worm Goby

Illustration of a Scaleless Wormgoby, Caragobius urolepis (holotype of Brachyamblyopus olivaceus Herre 1927). Source: Pl. 25 (fig. 3), in Herre (1927) Monographs, Bureau of Science Manila Monogr. 23: 1-352 / Biodiversity Heritage Library. License: CC by Attribution

An elongate goby with reduced eyes, and a mostly naked body.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Caragobius urolepis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Apr 2024,

Scaleless Wormgoby, Caragobius urolepis (Bleeker 1852)

More Info


Buffalo Creek to the Roper River, Northern Territory, and Moreton Bay, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west Pacific from coastal eastern India to Fiji.
Inhabits burrows in muddy and silty areas in estuaries, mudflats and the lower reaches of tidal rivers and creeks. 


Scales present only on posterior 25-30% of body, body otherwise naked; teeth on outer row of upper jaw 18-27; teeth on outer row of lower jaw 12 –28. Jaws terminating posteriorly at the vertical just anterior to posterior naris. Anterior nares much closer together than posterior nares. 


Feeds on zooplankton and small crustaceans.

Similar Species

The Red Eelgoby, Caragobius rubristriatus, is bright pink in colour, and the body is scaled from behind the pectoral fins.


The specific name urolepis is from the Greek oura (= tail) and lepis (= scale, scale of a fish) in reference to the lack of scales on the anterior two-thirds of the body of this species.

Species Citation

Amblyopus urolepis Bleeker 1852, Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 3: 581. Type locality: Palembang, Sumatra, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Scaleless Wormgoby, Caragobius urolepis (Bleeker 1852)


Allen, G.R. 1991. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of New Guinea. Publication No. 9 of the Christensen Research Institute, Madang, Papua New Guinea. 1-268, Pls. 1-18. (as Brachyamblyopus urolepis)

Bleeker, P. 1852. Diagnostische beschrijvingen van nieuwe of weinig bekende vischsoorten van Sumatra. Tiental I–IV. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 3: 569-608 See ref at BHL

Herre, A. W. C. T.  1927 (15 Sept.) [ref. 2104] See ref. at BHL Gobies of the Philippines and the China Sea. Monographs, Bureau of Science Manila Monograph 23: 1-352, frontispiece + Pls. 1-30. (described as Brachyamblyopus olivaceus, type locality La Libertad, Oriental Negros, Philippines) See ref at BHL

Jaafar, Z. 2019. Caragobius urolepis (errata version published in 2020). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T166992A174788717. Accessed on 31 July 2022.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 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) 

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

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293 

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. 

Murdy, E. 2011. Systematics of Amblyopinae. Chapter 1.8, pp. 107-118. in Patzner, R.A., van Tassell, J.L., Kovačić, M. & Kapoor, B.G. (eds). The biology of gobies. Science Publishers, Channel Islands, U.K., Enfield, New Hampshire, USA. 685 pp.

Murdy, E.O. & Shibukawa, K. 2003. A revision of the Indo-Pacific fish genus Caragobius (Gobiidae: Amblyopinae). Zootaxa 301: 1-12

Pantallano A.D.S., Bobiles, R.U. & Nakamura, Y. 2018. Dependence of fish on subtropical riverine mangroves as habitat in the Ryukyu Islands, Japan. Fisheries Science 84: 613-625.

Smith, H.M. & Seale, A. 1906. Notes on a collection of fishes from the island of Mindanao, Philippine Archipelago, with descriptions of new genera and species. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 19: 73-82 (described as Caragobius typhlops, type locality Rio Grande, Mindanao, Philippines) See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428362

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Habitat:Estuaries, muddy areas

Max Size:7+ cm SL

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CAAB distribution map