Hairfin Goby, Yongeichthys nebulosus (Forsskål 1775)

Other Names: Hair-finned Goby, Poisonous Goby, Shadow Goby, Three-blotch Goby

A Hairfin Goby, Yongeichthys nebulosus, in north Bali, Indonesia. Source: Jim Greenfield / FishBase. License: All rights reserved

A pale greenish-brown to greyish goby with three large dark brown blotches along the side, indistinct brown scribbling on the head and body, brown spots on the dorsal and caudal fins, and elongate filaments on second and third dorsal-fin spines.
Care must be taken when handling  the Hairfin Goby, as it is poisonous to eat. The skin and internal organs contain tetrodotoxin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Yongeichthys nebulosus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Dec 2023,

Hairfin Goby, Yongeichthys nebulosus (Forsskål 1775)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Shark Bay, Western Australia, to Moreton Bay, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical Indo-west Pacific.

Inhabits silty and muddy bottoms around inner reefs, mangrove areas and in the lower reaches of rivers and streams.


Dorsal fin VII + 9; Anal fin I, 9; Longitudinal scale series 29-30.
Body depth 3.2-3.4 in SL; second and third dorsal-fin spines elongate and filamentous; caudal fin rounded, slightly shorter than head; head without scales; most body scales ctenoid, breast, base of pectoral fin and anterior part of abdomen with cycloid scales; midline of nape without scales or 1-2 scales just before origin of dorsal fin.


Feeds mostly on benthic crustaceans and polychaete worms.


The Hairfin Goby contains tetrodotoxin in its skin and internal organs.

Species Citation

Gobius nebulosus Forsskål, 1775, Descriptiones animalium: 24. Type locality: Red Sea


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Hairfin Goby, Yongeichthys nebulosus (Forsskål 1775)


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. (as Acentrogobius nebulosus)

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.

Blaber, S.J.M., Young, J.W. & Dunning, M.C. 1985. Community structure and zoogeographic affinities of the coastal fishes of the Dampier region of north-western Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 36: 247-266. (as Ctenogobius nebulosus)

Black, R., Robertson, A.I., Peterson, C.H. & Peterson, N.M. 1990. Fishes and benthos of near-shore seagrass and sandflat habitats at Monkey Mia Shark Bay, Western Australia. pp 245-261, in Berry, P.F., Bradshaw, S.D. & Wilson, B.R. (eds). Research in Shark Bay: Report of the France-Australe Biocentenary Expedition Committee, Perth: Western Australia Museum.

Coles, R.G., Lee Long, W.J., Watson, R.A. & Derbyshire, K.J. 1993. Distribution of seagrasses, and their fish and penaeid prawn communities, in Cairns Harbour, a tropical estuary, Northern Queensland, Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 44: 193-210.

De Vis, C.W. 1884. New fishes in the Queensland Museum. No. 4. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 9(3): 685-698 (as Gobius festivus)

Forsskål, P. 1775. Descriptiones animalium Avium, Amphibiorum, Piscium, Insectorum, Vermium; quae in itinere orientali observavit Petrus Forskål. Post mortem auctoris edidit Carsten Niebuhr. Adjuncta est materia medica kahirina atque tabula maris rubri geographica. Hauniae : Mölleri 1-19, i-xxxiv, 164 pp., 43, pls

Goren, M. 1979. The Gobiinae of the Red Sea (Pisces: Gobiidae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 60(1/2): 13-64.

Herre, A.W. 1927. Gobies of the Philippines and China Seas. Monographs of the Bureau of Science. Manila 23: 1-352 pls 1-30 (as Rhinogobius criniger)

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343–398.

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. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Larson, H., Allen, G., Williams, J.T. & Sparks, J.S. 2017. Yongeichthys nebulosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T186090A1810055. Downloaded on 17 May 2018.

Larson, H.K. & Murdy, E.O. 2001. Gobiidae. Gobies. p. 3578-3603. In K.E. Carpenter & V.H. Niem (eds) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 6. FAO, Rome. (as Acentrogobius nebulosus)

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

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.

Masuda, H., Amaoka, K., Araga, C., Uyeno, T. & Yoshino, T. (eds) 1984. The Fishes of the Japanese Archipelago. Tokyo : Tokai University Press Vol. 1–2 437 pp. 247 figs 370 pls.

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 
Rhinogobius nebulosus)

Munro, I.S.R. 1967. The Fishes of New Guinea. Port Moresby : Dept. Agric. Stock Fish. 651 pp. 23 figs 84 pls.

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.

McDowall, R.M. 1997. The evolution of diadromy in fishes (revisited) and its place in phylogenetic analysis. Rev. Fish Biol. Fish. 7(4): 443-462.

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 (as Yongeichthys criniger)

Tatsuno, R., Shikina, M., Soyano, K., Ikeda, K., Takatani, T. & Arakawa, O. 2013. Maturation-associated changes in the internal distribution of tetrodotoxin in the female goby Yongeichthys criniger. Toxicon 63: 64-69. (as Yongeichthys criniger)

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

Whitley, G.P. 1932. Fishes. Scientific Reports of the Great Barrier Reef Expedition 1928-1929 4(9): 267-316 figs 1-5 pls 1-4 (as Yongeichthys criniger)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428001

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern


Depth:0-30 m

Habitat:Marine, brackish, freshwater

Max Size:18 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map