Ocellate Glidergoby, Valenciennea longipinnis (Lay & Bennett 1839)

Other Names: Long-finned Goby, Ocellate Glider Goby, Ocellated Goby, Ocellated Gudgeon, Teardrop Sleeper Goby,, Teardrop Sleeper-goby

A pair of Ocellate Glidergobies, Valenciennea longipinnis, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Mark Shepherd / Lizard Island Filed Guide, http://lifg.australianmuseum.net.au/. License: CC BY Attribution

A pale greyish glidergoby with about five blue-edged bars extending to midside, each bar containing a large dark blotch at the bottom, two deep pink stripes on the cheek and gill cover, and paler wavy pink stripes along the back. 
Ocellate Glidergobies excavate their own burrows and are usually seen in monogamous pairs. They feed by sifting small invertebrates from mouthfuls of sand. 
Video of an Ocellate Glidergoby in Tokyo Sea Life Park.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Valenciennea longipinnis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/175

Ocellate Glidergoby, Valenciennea longipinnis (Lay & Bennett 1839)

More Info


Point Quobba to The Kimberley, and  offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and the far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to Jervis Bay, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, east-Indo-west-central Pacific.
Inhabits seagrass beds and areas of fine sand and rubble on shallow reefs in sheltered bays and lagoons, with pairs constructing burrows beneath the rubble.


Dorsal fin V-VI + I,12-13; Anal fin I, 11-13; Longitudinal scale series 80-121. 
Body depth 6.0-6.7 in SL; no dorsal filamentous spines; caudal fin rhomboid, longer than head, length of caudal fin 2.7 in SL. Body scales ctenoid, becoming cycloid anteriorly below first or second dorsal spine; head or midline of nape without scales; side of nape with scales extending forward to above middle of operculum; usually scaled pectoral fin base in adult; partly or fully scaled prepelvic area of adult.


Pale grey body grading to white ventrally, with five, blue-edged bars extending ventrally to middle of side, each bar containing reddish brown to black blotch at bottom; blue bands; spots on head; pectoral fin base with a pair of pink stripes; dorsal fin with narrow pink bands and blue to reddish spots on second dorsal and caudal fins.


Feeds by sifting small invertebrates (e.g. copepods, amphipods, ostracods, nematodes, and foraminiferans) from mouthfuls of sand.


Monogamous pairs construct several burrows beneath rubble in shallow lagoon reefs. When threatened, the gobies dive into their burrows. 
Spawning occurs within one burrow, and the male parent guards and fans the egg clutches, while the female constructs a mound to aid water movement within the burrow.


Traded in the aquarium industry.


Unlike shrimp gobies, glidergoby pairs usually excavate their own burrows and are only occasionally found with alpheid shrimps. 


The specific name is from the Latin longus (= long) and pinnis (= fin) in reference either to the extended first dorsal-fin rays or the long, pointed caudal fin.

Species Citation

Eleotris longipinnis Lay & Bennett 1839. Fishes in, The Zoology of Captain Beechey's voyage: 64, pl. 20(3). Type locality: Ryukyu Islands (as Loo-Choo).


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Ocellate Glidergoby, Valenciennea longipinnis (Lay & Bennett 1839)


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

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

Coleman, N. 1981. Australian Sea Fishes North of 30°S. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 297 pp. 

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp. 

Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 1994. Revision of the Indo-Pacific gobiid fish genus Valenciennea, with descriptions of seven new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 23: 1-71 11 figs, 6 pls 

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343–398 DOI:  10.18195/issn.0313-122x.66.2004.343-398 See ref online

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6 See ref online

Hutchins, J.B., Williams, D.McB., Newman, S.J., Cappo, M. & Speare, P. 1995. New records of fishes for the Rowley Shoals and Scott/Seringapatam Reefs, off north-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 17: 119-123 See ref online

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 3. Jawfishes - Sunfishes, Opistognathidae - Molidae. Melbourne, Australia : Zoonetics pp. 1-302.

Larson, H., Hoese, D., Pezold, F., Murdy, E., Cole, K. & Shibukawa, K. 2021. Valenciennea longipinnis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T193129A2198904. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-1.RLTS.T193129A2198904.en. Downloaded on 22 October 2021.

Lay, G.T. & Bennett, E.T. 1839. Fishes. pp. 41–75 pls 15–23 in Bechey, F.W. (ed.) The Zoology of Captain Beechey's voyage , comp. from the collections ... to the Pacific and Behring's Straits... in 1825-28. London : Henry G. Bohn. See ref at BHL

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 2. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 5(4): 510-629 pls 13-14 (as Eleotris taeniura) See ref at BHL

Moore, G.I. & Morrison, S.M. 2009. Fishes of three North West Shelf atolls off Western Australia: Mermaid (Rowley Shoals), Scott and Seringapatam Reefs. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 77: 221-255 DOI:  10.18195/issn.0313-122x.77.2009.221-255 See ref online

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 DOI 10.18195/issn.0313-122x.84.2014.161-206 See ref online

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 

Takegaki, T. 2001. Environmental factors affecting the spawning burrow selection by the gobiid fish, Valenciennea longipinnis. Journal of Fish Biology 58: 222-229 https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2001.tb00509.x

Takegaki, T. 2003. Factors affecting female parental investment in the monogamous goby, Valenciennea longipinnis. Hydrobiologia 510: 147-152 https://doi.org/10.1023/B:HYDR.0000008641.63429.c9 

Takegaki, T. & Nakazono, A. 1999. Reproductive behavior and mate fidelity in the monogamous goby, Valenciennea longipinnis. Ichthyological Research 46: 115-123 https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02675429

Takegaki, T. & Nakazono, A. 1999. Responses of the egg-tending gobiid fish Valenciennea longipinnis to the fluctuation of dissolved oxygen in the burrow. Bulletin of Marine Science 65: 815-823. See ref online

Takegaki, T. & Nakazono, A. 1999. Division of labor in the monogamous goby, Valenciennea longipinnis, in relation to burrowing behavior. Ichthyological Research 46: 125-129 https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02675430

Takegaki, T. & Nakazono, A. 2000. The role of mounds in promoting water-exchange in the egg-tending burrows of monogamous goby, Valenciennea longipinnis (Lay et Bennett). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 253(2): 149-163 https://doi.org/10.1016/S0022-0981(00)00251-3 

Waite, E.R. 1902. New records or recurrences of rare fishes from eastern Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 4(7): 263-273 DOI: 10.3853/j.0067-1975.4.1902.1102

Syms, C. & Jones, G.P. 2004. Habitat structure, disturbance and the composition of sand-dwelling goby assemblages in a coral reef lagoon, Marine Ecology Progress Series 268: 221-230 doi:10.3354/meps268221

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428282

Behaviour:Construct burrows

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-30 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:18 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map