Sphynx Goby, Amblygobius sphynx (Valenciennes 1837)

Other Names: Sphinx Goby

A Sphynx Goby, Amblygobius sphynx, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, in a Halimeda/Caulerpa algae bed, depth 24 m. Source: Lyle Vail / Lizard Island Filed Guide, http://lifg.australianmuseum.net.au/. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A yellowish-brown goby becoming whitish below with 5-6 dark brown bars separated by white markings along the side, and a row of small widely spaced black spots along the back.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Amblygobius sphynx in Fishes of Australia, accessed 04 Feb 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/77

Sphynx Goby, Amblygobius sphynx (Valenciennes 1837)

More Info


Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea and East Africa to Micronesia.
Inhabits sandy or sparse seagrass areas on protected reefs, usually hovering near the bottom - sheltering in burrows when threatened.


Dorsal fin VI + I, 13-15; Anal fin I, 13-15; Longitudinal scale series 55. 
Body depth 3.6-4.0 in SL.Dorsal fins equal in height; caudal fin rounded. Scales ctenoid on body, cycloid on nape, abdomen and breast; predorsal scales extending to interorbital space; scales dorsally on opercle, absent from cheek.


Feeds mostly on small crustaceans and gastropods, sifted from mouthfuls of sand.

Species Citation

Gobius sphynx Valenciennes, in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1837, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons Vol. 12: 93. Type locality: Vanikoro Island, Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Sphynx Goby, Amblygobius sphynx (Valenciennes 1837)


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

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Larson, H. & Greenfield, D. 2016. Amblygobius sphynx. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T193082A2192677. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T193082A2192677.en. Downloaded on 19 September 2019.

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. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.  

Syms, C. & Jones, G.P. 2004. Habitat structure, disturbance and the composition of sand-dwelling goby assemblages in a coral reef lagoon. Marine Ecology Progress Series 268: 221-230

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1837. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 12 507 pp. pls 344-368. See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428050

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-20 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish (uncommon)

Habitat:Reef associated, sand/seagrass

Max Size:18 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map