Lipstick Goby, Eugnathogobius polylepis (Wu & Ni 1985)

Other Names: Scaly Mullet-goby, Wu's Goby

A Lipstick Goby, Eugnathogobius polylepis, from Rapid Creek, Darwin, Northern Territory. Source: Dave Wilson. License: CC by Attribution

A small, slender olive to olive-grey goby with red lips, (especially lower lip), a black spot on the upper caudal-fin base, and three blackish-brown bars on the cheek and gill cover. Adult males have a yellow caudal fin with a black submarginal band.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Eugnathogobius polylepis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 09 Dec 2022,

Lipstick Goby, Eugnathogobius polylepis (Wu & Ni 1985)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Broome, WA, to Moreton Bay, QLD. Found elsewhere in the Western Pacific.
Inhabits muddy bottoms in mangrove areas - amongst mangrove roots, on mudbanks, in small muddy puddles or partly buried in mud. 


Meristic features: Dorsal fin VI + I, 8; Anal fin I, 8-9; Pectoral fin 16-19; Longitudinal scales 47-50; Transverse scales 15-16; Predorsal scales 0-19; Vertebrae 26. 
A small, slender goby with low, rounded dorsal fins; head pores absent; small ctenoid scales on body; predorsal area covered with cycloid scales in female, usually naked in male; cheek, operculum, prepelvic region and pectoral-fin base region naked.


Three blackish-brown bars on cheek and preoperculum; adults with a thin red line on upper and lower lips, a large black spot on upper caudal-fin base (spot smaller in females), dorsal and anal fins greyish with a yellow margin, a  horizontal brown bar on pectoral-fin base, and often with 3-5 vertical black lines on caudal fin. Adult males have a yellow caudal fin with a distinct black submarginal band.


Wuhanlinigobius is named for the Chinese ichthyologist, Prof. Wu, Han-lin, in recognition of his great contribution to ichthyological research in China, especially on gobioid fishes.

Species Citation

Mugilogobius polylepis Wu & Ni, 1985, Zool. Res. 6(4): 95, fig. 2. Type locality: Zhonggang, Fengxian, Shanghai, China. 


Dianne J. Bray

Lipstick Goby, Eugnathogobius polylepis (Wu & Ni 1985)


Huang, S.P., Chen, I.S. & Shen, C.N. 2014. The complete mitochondrial genome of the small-scaled Wu’s goby Wuhanlinigobius polylepis (Perciformes, Gobiidae). Mitochondrial DNA May 20: 1-3.

Huang, S.-P., J. Zeehan & I.-S. Chen, 2013. A new genus of Hemigobius generic group goby based on morphological and molecular evidence, with description of a new species. Journal of Marine Science and Technology 21(Suppl): 146-155. (Wuhanlinigobius polylepis) PDF

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) (as Eugnathogobius polylepis)

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. (as Mugilogobius polylepis & Calamiana sp. nov. 2)

Larson, H.K. 2009. Review of the gobiid fish genera Eugnathogobius and Pseudogobiopsis (Gobioidei: Gobiidae: Gobionellinae), with descriptions of three new species. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 57(1): 127–181. (as Eugnathogobius polylepis)

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. (as Eugnathogobius polylepis)

Wu, H.-L. & Ni, Y. 1985. On two new species of Mugilogobius Smitt (Perciformes: Gobiidae) from China. Zoological Research 6(4): 93–98.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428348

Depth:0-2 m

Habitat:Estuaries - mangroves, tidal flats

Max Size:3.2 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map