Elizabeth Springs Goby, Chlamydogobius micropterus Larson 1995

Elizabeth Springs Goby, Chlamydogobius micropterus. Source: Dave Wilson / Aquagreen. License: All rights reserved

This tiny critically endangered goby is found only in marshy pools at Elizabeth Springs in Queensland, where it lives in shallow marshy pools fed by mound springs.
Colour - greyish to greenish-brown above, sides lighter, belly cream to white. Mature males become golden-brown. First dorsal fin grey with a pale yellow margin and a pale blue spot on the rear edge. Other fins blueish-grey with a whitish-blue margin.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray, Chlamydogobius micropterus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 09 Dec 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1326

Elizabeth Springs Goby, Chlamydogobius micropterus Larson 1995

More Info


Known only from a single locality, Elizabeth Springs, in western QLD. Tropical benthic species, inhabiting shallow marshy, vegetated pools fed by mound springs.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin III-VI; I, 6-8; Anal fin I, 5-7; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 15-17 (branched rays) 13-16; Pectoral fin 11-13; Pelvic fin I, 5; horizontal scale rows 12-17; midlateral scales 37-42; predorsal scales 14-22; Gill rakers 1-2 + 6 = 7-8; Vertebrae 10-11 + 17-18 = 27-29. 
Body somewhat rounded anteriorly, compressed posteriorly. Head short, somewhat rounded, length 3.3-3.6 in SL. Snout rounded to somewhat flattened, not overhanging upper lip. Anterior nostril in very short tube, on edge of preorbital, tube oriented down and forward, preorbital curved forward slightly to accommodate nostril. Posterior nostril oval, between front edge of eye and edge of preorbital, closer to eye. Eyes lateral, high on head, top usually part of dorsal profile, 3.2-4.2 in HL. Interorbital broad, flat; top of head, from rear of interorbital space up to snout tip, sometimes with fine villi. Lips usually smooth, lower lip free at sides, fused across front. Mouth terminal, slightly oblique, reaching to below front half of eye in both sexes; teeth of upper jaw in about 3  rows, outermost larger than others, stout and curved or almost upright, others slightly smaller; teeth of lower jaw in about 4 rows; tips of teeth often tinted translucent pale brown; teeth similar in males and females; tongue usually blunt. Gill opening restricted to pectoral base; inner edge of shoulder girdle smooth.
Scales on body mostly cycloid, ctenoid scales restricted to patch under pectoral fin; ctenii weak; predorsal scales evenly small, cycloid, usually reaching forward to at least above preopercular margin or to behind eyes, 14-22 in front of dorsal; operculum with patch of small cycloid scales on upper third to half; cheek naked; pectoral fin base covered with few cycloid scales; prepelvic area with small cycloid scales posteriorly, anterior portion often naked; belly usually with patch of ctenoid scales under pelvics, remainder cycloid, or all cycloid.  Lateral line absent; lateral scale series 35-47. Head pores absent.
Fins small, especially first dorsal; 2 dorsal fins, first reduced, somewhat pointed, longest spine not much longer than eye width; second dorsal and anal fins very low, with short bases, last rays falling far short of caudal fin when depressed. Pectoral fin rounded. Pelvic fins united into complete disc, small, rounded to oval, occasionally reaching half to two thirds distance to anus. Caudal fin rounded.


To around 3 cm SL.


Greyish yellow, with white abdomen; some scales yellowish white forming irregular marbled pattern on upper half of body; dense, dark brown spots widely scattered over body, a few on dorsal surface of head mostly restricted to scaled part of nape; brown spots larger and more evenly spaced midlaterally on sides posteriorly; largest spot at centre of caudal fin base. Head mostly plain, with broad dark-margined pale brownish bar from below eye to behind jaws; opercle with brownish markings and yellowish white-margined scales; snout, jaws and lower half of head pale yellowish white; iris pale golden with brownish margin. First dorsal fin apparently yellowish grey anteriorly with large bright blue spot covering most of it; second dorsal fin with membranes mostly translucent and some dusky barring; fin rays yellowish grey. Anal fin grey with white margin. Caudal fin translucent yellowish grey, uppermost fin rays nearly whitish. Pectoral fin whitish.


Omnivorous, feeding on insects, crustaceans, algae, fish eggs and detritus. The gobies shelter around emergent vegetation during the day and have been seen foraging away from cover during the night.


Oviparous, benthic spawners. Spawning occurs during summer and females deposit adhesive eggs into rocky crevices. Males guard the eggs, fanning them almost constantly until hatching. This reproductive information has been determined for captive population s, as spawning has not been seen in the wild.


  • EPBC Act 1999 : Endangered
  • IUCN Red List : Critically Endangered
  • The habitat is threatened by the extraction of water from the Great Artesian Basin by man-made bores. The flow rate of water from the mound springs has reduced by approximately 70% (Fairfax and Fensham 2002) - resulting in the loss of considerable goby habitat. The remaining habitat has been damaged by damaged by cattle, goats and feral pigs (Unmack & Wager 2007).
    A captive breeding program has been established to ensure the survival of the species. 


    Similar Species

    The Elizabeth Springs Goby differs from otherChlamydogobius species in having less intense coloration, and in having reduced fins with fewer spines.


    Species name is from the Greek, micropterus for small fin, in reference to the reduced first dorsal fin.

    Species Citation

    Chlamydogobius micropterus Larson, H.K. (1995). A review of the Australian endemic gobiid fish genus Chlamydogobius with descriptions of five new species. The Beagle. Rec. Mus. Art. Gall. N. Terr. 12: 19–51 figs 1–4 pls 1–2 [35, figs 3–4, 9–10].
    Elizabeth Springs, QLD.


    Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray

    Elizabeth Springs Goby, Chlamydogobius micropterus Larson 1995


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

    Fensham RJ, Fairfax RJ, Wager RNE (2005) Recovery plan for the Elizabeth Springs goby (Chlamydogobius micropterus) 2006–2010. Report to Environment Australia, Canberra. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Brisbane.

    Larson, H.K. 1995. A review of the Australian endemic gobiid fish genus Chlamydogobius with descriptions of five new species. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 12: 19-51 figs 1-14 pls 1-2

    Larson, H.K. 2001. A revision of the gobiid fish genus Mugilogobius (Teleostei: Gobioidei), and its systematic placement. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 62: 1-233

    Unmack, P.J. 2001. Biogeography of Australian freshwater fishes. Journal of Biogeography 28: 1053-1089

    Unmack, P.J. & R.Wager (2007). Threatened Fishes of the World: Chlamydogobius micropterus Larson, 1995 (Gobiidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 80(4): 489-490.

    Wager R (1995) Recovery plan for Queensland artesian spring fishes. Report to the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra

    Wager, R. 1996. Chlamydogobius micropterus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 05 July 2012

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37428304

    Conservation:EPBC Act: Endangered

    Conservation:IUCN: Critically Endangered


    Habitat:Marshy freshwater pools

    Max Size:3 cm SL

    Native:Endemic to Qld

    Species Image Gallery

    Species Maps

    CAAB distribution map