Genus Gobiodon


A genus of small cryptic coral-associated gobies that live in symbiotic relationships with certain species of stony corals. The gobies feed on coral parasites, coral mucus and algae from the surface of their coral hosts, as well as on planktonic invertebrates.

Corals are continually threatened by being smothered or choked by algae. Recent research showed that when attacked by seaweeds, some corals send chemical signals to their Gobiodon symbionts - who remove the offending algae by scraping it off, or consuming it. (Dixson & Hay 2012)

Author: Bray, D.J. 2019

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Gobiodon in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2020,


Brooker, R.M., P.L. Munday, T.D. Ainsworth. 2010. Diets of coral-dwelling fishes of the genus Gobiodon with evidence of corallivory. J. Fish Biol. 76: 2578.

Dixson, D.L. & M.E. Hay. 2012. Corals chemically cue mutualistic fishes to remove competing seaweeds. Science 338(6108): 804-807.

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: 119-136.

Hashimoto, Y., K. Shiomi & K. Aida. 1974. Occurrence of a skin toxin in coral-globes Gobiodon spp. Toxicon 12: 523.

Munday, P.L., G.P. Jones & M.J. Caley. 1997. Habitat specialisation and the distribution and abundance of coral-dwelling gobies. Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 152: 227. 

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

Riedlecker, E. & J. Herler. 2009. Trophic morphology of the coral-associated genus Gobiodon (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from the Red Sea. J. Zool. Sys. Evol Res. 47: 160.

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