Larson’s Tiny Sandgoby, Grallenia larsonae Allen & Hammer 2018

Preserved holotype of Larson’s Tiny Sandgoby, Grallenia larsonae, WAM P.30690-004, male, 15.6 mm SL, from the Monte Bello Islands, Western Australia. Source: G.R. Allen, Fig. 2, in Allen & Hammer (2018) J. Ocean Sci. Foundation 31: 87-96. License: CC by Attribution

A tiny pale sand-colored goby, mottled with darker blotches, a series of 8 yellow spots along the side, fine red spots along the dorsal midline of the body, and bright yellow fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Grallenia larsonae in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Sep 2020,

Larson’s Tiny Sandgoby, Grallenia larsonae Allen & Hammer 2018

More Info


Endemic to northern Australia, from the Monte Bello Islands, Western Australia, to coastal and insular locations of the Northern Territory, eastward to Bremer Island off the Gove Peninsula, Northern Territory. 
Occurs on sand and rubble bottoms, in habitats ranging from sand flats, isolated coral knolls, reef slopes, and reef edge/fringing reef with scattered corals, at depths to 15 m.


Dorsal fin VII, 7-8; Anal fin I, 7-8; Vertebrae 10+17-18=27 (usually 10+17=27).

Dorsal-fin spines not elongated in either sex; second dorsal fin not reaching caudal-fin base when adpressed, length of longest ray 14.0-17.6% of SL; length of longest anal-fin ray 8.9-13.3% of SL; scales on body extending anteriorly to just behind pectoral-fin base; weak, low pelvic frenum; pectoral fin length 20.7-25.9% of SL; caudal-peduncle length 24.6-28.6% of SL; cephalic sensory canals with pores C' (unpaired), D (unpaired), E and F.


In preservative: tan with 8 widely spaced, small, brown spots in mid-lateral row on side of body; faint dark bar of stellate melanophores across anterior cheek; scattered pepper-like melanophores on anterior part of upper opercle

Similar Species

Differs from the closely related Grallenia arenicola from southern Japan in having relatively few scales anterior to the level of the second dorsal fin origin, and those are usually restricted to a single row (vs. numerous scales that continue forward to the pectoral-fin base in G. arenicola). 


The species is named in honour of Helen K. Larson, for her extensive contribution to goby taxonomy and systematics, and who collected and carefully preserved most of the type specimens.

Species Citation

Grallenia larsonae Allen & Hammer 2018, J. Ocean Sci. Foundation 31: 89, Figs 204. Type locality: Western Australia, Monte Bello Islands, west side of Trimouille Island, -20.4053°, 115.5658°, 8–15 m.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Larson’s Tiny Sandgoby, Grallenia larsonae Allen & Hammer 2018


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2017. Description of five new species of marine gobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae) of the genus Grallenia from the tropical western Pacific Ocean. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 27: 20–47. doi: Open access (Australian material tentatively identified as Grallenia arenicola)

Allen, G.R. & Hammer, M.P. 2018. Grallenia larsonae, a new species of sandgoby (Pisces: Gobiidae) from northern Australia. Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 31: 87-96. Open access

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 (as Grallenia arenicola)

Moore, G.I., Morrison, S.M., Hutchins, B.J., Allen, G.R. & Sampey, A. 2014. Kimberley marine biota. Historical data: fishes. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 84: 161-206 (as Grallenia arenicola)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428416

Depth:1-15 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sand & rubble areas

Max Size:1.8 cm SL


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