Sleepy Goby, Psammogobius biocellatus (Valenciennes 1837)

Other Names: Crocodile Flathead Goby, Estuary Goby, Mangrove Goby

A Sleepy Goby, Psammogobius biocellatus, from Viti Levu, Fiji. Source: Rick Winterbottom / FishWise Professional. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

A dark brown to blackish goby, with rows of small black spots along the side, 2-3 dark saddles or blotches along the back and upper side, a dark band on the first dorsal fin, dark bands on the lower part of the caudal fin, and narrow bands on the pelvic fins.

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018, Psammogobius biocellatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024,

Sleepy Goby, Psammogobius biocellatus (Valenciennes 1837)

More Info


Kimberley region, Western Australia, to near Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west-central Pacific. Inhabits the intertidal zone in estuaries, lagoons and coastal rivers, commonly amongst mangroves - often burrowing into the silty-sand bottom. The species may also occur in the lower reaches of freshwater streams.


Dorsal fin VI; I, 9; Anal fin I, 8; Pectoral fin 17-19; Transverse scales 7-9; Longitudinal scale series 26-32; Predorsal scales 13-16; Gill rakers 5-10. 
Head length 2.9-3.3 in SL; eye diameter 11.1-20.0 in SL. A projection from upper part of iris into pupil. Gill-membranes united across isthmus. Lateral line absent.


Blackish dots on the dorsal part of body. The shape of lateral blotches not distinct. Anal fin and pelvic fins mottled with dark spots; lower part of caudal fin distinctly mottled with dark spots.

Species Citation

Gobius biocellatus Valenciennes, in Cuvier  & Valenciennes 1837, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 12: 73. Type locality: Pondichery, India.


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Sleepy Goby, Psammogobius biocellatus (Valenciennes 1837)


Allen, G.R. 1991. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of New Guinea. Madang : Christensen Research Institute 268 pp. (as Glossogobius biocellatus)

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. (as Glossogobius biocellatus)

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. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. (as Glossogobius biocellatus)

Hoese, D.F., Hadiaty, R.K. & Herder, F. 2015. Review of the dwarf Glossogobius lacking head pores from the Malili lakes, Sulawesi, with a discussion of the definition of the genus. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 14-26: 63 

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762 (as Glossogobius biocellatus)

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Larson, H.K. & Murdy, E.O. 2001. Eleotridae, Gobiidae. pp. 3574-3604 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218. 

Larson, H. & Sparks, J.S. 2017. Psammogobius biocellatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T9266A96230065. Downloaded on 16 May 2018.

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. (as Glossogobius biocellatus)

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 

McCulloch, A.R. & Ogilby, J.D. 1919. Some Australian fishes of the family Gobiidae. Records of the Australian Museum 12(10): 193-291 figs 31-37 (as Glossogobius biocellatus)

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1837. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 12 507 pp. pls 344-368.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428025

Behaviour:Buries in sand

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-3 m

Habitat:Estuaries, mangroves, occasionally freshwater

Max Size:12 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map