Many-host Ghostgoby, Pleurosicya mossambica Smith 1959

Other Names: Common Ghost Goby, Many Host Goby, Many-host Cling-goby, Many-host Ghost Goby, Mozambique Ghostgoby, Toothy Goby

A Many-host Ghostgoby, Pleurosicya mossambica, at Bare Island, La Perouse, Sydney, New South Wales. Source: Klaus Stiefel / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A variably-coloured goby ranging from greenish or uniform brown to a semi-transparent reddish to reddish-brown colour with white saddles/blotches along the back and a whitish internal stripe or dashes along the top of the vertebral column.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Pleurosicya mossambica in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Jun 2023,

Many-host Ghostgoby, Pleurosicya mossambica Smith 1959

More Info


Recorded in Australia from the Monte Bello Islands, Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, to Bsare Island, Sydney, New South Wales, including reefs in the Coral Sea and Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Occurs elsewhere in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.
Inhabits coastal bays and reef slopes, living on a variety of invertebrate hosts including algae, soft corals, sponges, tunicates, holothurians, gorgonians and sea pens.


Dorsal fin VI + I, 7-8; Anal fin I, 7-8; Pectoral fin 16-20; Transverse scales 7; Longitudinal scale series 20-27. 

Body depth at anus 5.3-6.8 in SL; mouth large, maxillary extending to vertical from midline to eye; gill opening broad, reaching to below half of eye. Midline of predorsal and nape naked but scaled on either side. Median fins low; first dorsal-fin roughly triangular and shorter than anterior rays of second dorsal, which is quite low posteriorly. Pectoral-fin large, extending to below gap between dorsal fins. Pelvic fins large, frenum fimbriate.

Species Citation

Pleurosicya mossambica Smith, 1959, Ichthyol. Bull. Rhodes Univ. Grahamstown 13: 218, fig. 37. Type locality: Baixo Pinda, Mozambique. 


Dianne J. Bray

Many-host Ghostgoby, Pleurosicya mossambica Smith 1959


Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2

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)

Hoese, D.F. 1986. Family No. 240: Gobiidae. pp. 774-807 figs in Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds). Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls.

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

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.K. 1990. A revision of the commensal gobiid fish genera Pleusosicya and Luposicya (Gobiidae), with descriptions of eight new species of Pleusosicya and discussion of related genera. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 7(1): 1-53 figs 1-29 pls 1-3

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. A comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia. Guam : Coral Graphics vi 330 pp. 192 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.

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.

Smith, J.L.B. 1959. Gobioid fishes of the families Gobiidae, Periophthalmidae, Trypauchenidae, Taenioididae and Kraemeriidae of the western Indian Ocean. Ichthyological Bulletin, Department of Ichthyology, Rhodes University, Grahamstown 13: 185-225 figs 1-42 pls 9-13

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428231

Behaviour:Lives on invertebrates and algae

Depth:2-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:2.5 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map