Lau Goby, Grallenia lauensis Allen & Erdmann 2017

Female Lau Gobies, Grallenis lauensis, in the Lau Archipelago, Fiji, depth 30–35 m. Source: Mark Erdmann, Fig. 14, in Allen & Erdmann (2017) Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation 27. License: CC by Attribution

A tiny semi-transparent goby with a white peritoneum, brown internal markings along the vertebral column, dark spots on the upper iris, and short diagonal dark markings on the upper and lower parts of the caudal-fin base. Male colour pattern is unknown.
In Australia, this species had been misidentified as Grallenia lipi, which occurs in eastern Indonesia.

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

Lau Goby, Grallenia lauensis Allen & Erdmann 2017

More Info


Known from reefs in the northwestern Coral Sea (Ashmore Reef and Boot Reef) to One Tree Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the southern Lau Archipelago, southeastern Fiji (the type locality). 
The Lau habitat comprised extensive gradual slopes of clean white sand in 30–35m depth. Both Lau sites were located in channel passes from the outer reef to extensive inner lagoons, and were hence subject to frequent strong currents and high rates of water exchange (Allen & Erdmann 2017).


Dorsal fin VI + I,7; Anal fin I,7; all segmented dorsal- and anal-fin rays unbranched; Pectoral fin 15, all rays unbranched except middle 2–4; Branched caudal-fin rays 11; Segmented caudal-fin rays 15; Upper unsegmented caudal-fin rays 7; Lower unsegmented caudal-fin rays 7; Posterior longitudinal scales 8–12, mainly restricted to caudal peduncle; anterior body scales absent; Gill rakers 0+5; Vertebrae 27.
Body depth at pelvic-fin origin 15.1–15.7% SL; depth at anal-fin origin 12.9–13.2% SL; cephalic sensory-canal pores present; Total longitudinal scales 8 (12), restricted to caudal peduncle or slightly anterior (to below base of sixth dorsal-fin ray); anterior scale series absent.


Female mainly translucent with faint markings, including five, progressively shorter, orange-brown, dash-like marks overlying vertebral column, about 10–12 narrow orange bars on back between level of pectoral-fin base and caudal-fin base, and 5–6 widely-spaced, brown-to-orange spots on lower side between middle of abdomen and caudal-fin base; colour of male unknown.


Grallenia is named for Gerald R. Allen, in honour of his great contribution to our knowledge of the diversity of coral-reef fishes. The species is named lauensis with reference to the Lau Archipelago type locality.

Species Citation

Grallenia lauensis Allen & Erdman 2017, J. Ocean Sci. Foundation 27: Figs 3C, 12–15. Type locality: Lau Archipelago, Cakau Motu, 18° 36.979’ S, 179° 25.459’ E, 35 m.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Lau Goby, Grallenia lauensis Allen & Erdmann 2017


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

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:  PDF available, Open access

Shibukawa, K. & Iwata, A. 2007. Grallenia, a new goby genus from the western Pacific, with descriptions of two new species (Perciformes: Gobiidae: Gobiinae). Bulletin of the National Museum of Nature and Science A Suppl. 1: 123-136.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428472

Depth:30-35 m (in Fiji)

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:15.6 mm SL

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