Tank Goby, Glossogobius giuris (Hamilton-Buchanan 1822)

Other Names: Flathead Goby, Ganges Goby

A Tank Goby, Glossogobius giuris, from the Reynolds River, Northern Territory. Source: Dave Wilson / Aquagreen. License: All rights reserved

A goby with 5 large brown blotches along the midline, the middle blotch narrower than half body depth, no blackish spots on the back, a small dark spot (or two) on first dorsal-fin spine, and the caudal fin mottled with rows of dark spots.
Hoese & Hammer (2021) tentatively considered what has been treated as Glossogobius giurus as a complex of two species: Glossogobius giurus and Glossogobius laticeps.

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2021, Glossogobius giuris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/129

Tank Goby, Glossogobius giuris (Hamilton-Buchanan 1822)

More Info


Widespread with a patchy distribution in northern Australia from the Ashburton River, Hammersley Range, and the Kimberley region, Western Australia, eastward to the Northern Territory. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west Pacific.
Inhabits clear to turbid freshwater to estuarine areas in rivers and streams with sand, gravel or rock substrates, and freshwater river systems that extend well inland; also found in marine habitats.


Dorsal fin VI + I, 9; Anal fin I, 8; Pectoral fin 17-22; Transverse scales 9-11; Gill rakers 8-12.
Body elongate, compressed, height 6 in length. Head 2.8-3.2 in SL; profile slightly convex. Head and snout flattened. Snout broadly pointed, longer than eye, tip before lower half of eye. Eye 10-25 in SL, interorbital subequal or less than eye diameter. Mouth relatively large, slightly oblique, lower jaw prominent, maxillary reaching at least to below front half of eye; outer row of teeth in upper jaw conical, somewhat enlarged, stout, followed by 2-3 rows of smaller, depressible teeth; teeth in outer row on lower jaw conical, somewhat enlarged, stout, followed by 2-3 rows of smaller, depressible teeth; tongue deeply emarginate; sensory papillae on cheek below eye in multiple rows; indistinct mandibular frenum (on chin). Lower end of gill-opening behind lower tip of cleithrum; gill-membrane attached to isthmus.
Scales ctenoid on body, cycloid on breast and pectoral fin base, opercle with patch of cycloid scales dorsally; predorsal scaled up to behind eyes, scales ctenoid on side of nape; predorsal scales 14-24; lateral line absent; longitudinal series 29-35; horizontal scale rows.
Two dorsal fins, first not as high as body, second spine longest; second dorsal and anal fin lower than body. Caudal fin oblong, about as long as head, rounded. Pelvic fins fully united into disc. Pectoral and ventral fin a little shorter than head.


To around 14 cm SL


No blackish spots on back; middle of 5 large brown blotches on lateral midline narrower than half body depth at this position. Characteristic small dark spot (or two) on outer face of anteriormost first dorsal fin spine. Anal and pelvic fins plain. Caudal fin mottled with rows of dark spots.


Feeds mainly on aquatic macroinvertebrates, especially insect larvae and nymphs, crustaceans and small fishes are also consumed.


Oviparous, benthic spawners that migrate to the sea to breed, but also breed in fresh water. Relatively fecund, producing between 1,000 and 16,000 eggs. Eggs are small (1.0 x 0.3 mm). Larvae have a marine phase and mature rapidly.


Hoese & Hammer (2021) redescribed and tentatively treated the two species that had previously been referred to as Glossogobius giuris from Australia as Glossogobius giuris and Glossogobius laticeps. The two species are largely allopatric in Australia with G. laticeps found on the east coast of Queensland and some rivers of the Northern Territory, while G. giuris occurs from the Northern Territory to rivers of the west coast of Western Australia. The two forms are genetically distinct and have some colour pattern differences.

Similar Species

In Australia, this species is sympatric with the Tank Goby, Glossogobius laticeps, only in the Daly River system of the Northern Territory. 


The specific name is a Latinization of ghiyuri, one of the local Gangetic names in India for this species (per Hamilton’s notes as published by Hora in 1934) (Scharpf & Lazzara, 2021)

Species Citation

Gobius giuris Hamilton 1822, An Account of the Fishes Found in the River Ganges and its Branches: 51, 366, pl. 33(15). Type locality: Ganges River, India.


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Tank Goby, Glossogobius giuris (Hamilton-Buchanan 1822)


Akihito, P. & Meguro, K. 1975. Description of a new gobiid fish, Glossogobius aureus, with notes on related species of the genus. Japanese Journall of Ichthyology 22(3): 127–142 figs 1–3.

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 240 pp. pls 1–63

Hamilton-Buchanan, F. 1822. An Account of the Fishes Found in the River Ganges and its Branches.  Edinburgh : Archibald Constable 405 pp. pls 1–39 See ref at BHL

Hammer, M.P., Taillebois, L., King, A.J., et al. 2021. Unravelling the taxonomy and identification of a problematic group of benthic fishes from tropical rivers (Gobiidae: Glossogobius). J Fish Biol. 2021; 99: 87– 100. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfb.14701

Hoese, D.F. & Hammer, M.P. 2021. A review of the 𝐺𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑠𝑜𝑔𝑜𝑏𝑖𝑢𝑠 𝑔𝑖𝑢𝑟𝑖𝑠 complex in Australia, with wider discussion on nomenclature and possible synonymies. Zootaxa 4974(1): 79–115. http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4974.1.3

Lake, J.S. 1978. Australian Freshwater Fishes.  Melbourne : Thomas Nelson 160 pp. 140 figs (p. 73, in part).

Larson, H., Britz, R., Sparks, J.S., Lumbantobing, D., Brown, C., de Alwis Goonatilake, S., Fernado, M. & Kotagama, O. 2019. Glossogobius giuris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T166533A123379264. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T166533A123379264.en. Downloaded on 08 December 2021.

Larson, H.K. & Martin, K.C. 1990. Freshwater Fishes of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences Handbook Series Number 1.  Darwin : Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 102 pp. 73 figs.

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management.  Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. figs (p. 311, in part).

Pusey B., Kennard M. & Arthington A. 2004. Freshwater Fishes of North-Eastern Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood Australia. 684 pp.

Scharpf, C. & Lazara, K.J. 2021. Order GOBIIFORMES: Family GOBIIDAE (d-h) in The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database, accessed 09 Dec 2021, https://etyfish.org/gobiiformes5/

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428151

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Freshwater, brackish streams

Max Size:14 cm SL

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