Glassgoby, Gobiopterus semivestitus (Munro 1949)

Other Names: Glass Goby

A Glassgoby, Gobiopterus semivestitus, from Mallacoota Inlet, Victoria, November 2016. Source: David Paul / Museums Victoria. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A transparent compressed goby with small scattered black spots on the underside of the head, a line of melanophores along the side, a series of small black spots along lower margin of the body from the origin of the anal fin to the caudal-fin base, and tiny pelvic fins.
Glassgobies inhabit coastal bays, inlets and estuaries, often forming large schools close to shore.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Gobiopterus semivestitus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Feb 2021,

Glassgoby, Gobiopterus semivestitus (Munro 1949)

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Endemic to eastern and southern Australia from about Townsville, central Queensland, to Spencer Gulf, South Australia, excluding Tasmania. Occurs in shallow estuaries, coastal bays and inlets, and often enters freshwater.
Although the Glassgoby is abundant in New South Wales, where it forms large schools, the species is rarely noticed due to its small size.


Dorsal fin V + 7-10 (usually 9); Anal fin 11-13; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 17; Pectoral fin 14-15; Pelvic fin i, 5.
Body slender; head of moderate size (28-31% SL); interorbital broad, slightly less than eye diameter; mouth very oblique, almost vertical, front of jaws in line with upper quarter of eyes, rear end of jaws below or just before anterior margin of eyes; teeth in males large and flattened (anteriorly-posteriorly); teeth in females minute and conical; head pores absent; gill openings broad, extending forward to below posterior preopercular margins; tongue tip bilobed. 
Head naked; body scales ctenoid, in 16-18 vertical rows, confined to posterior half of body, beginning just before second dorsal fin origin; no scales immediately behind pectoral fin bases. 
Two dorsal fins, first dorsal fin minute, origin well behind pelvic-fin insertions; second dorsal and anal fins very short based, base much shorter than caudal peduncle length; second dorsal-fin origin well behind first dorsal fin; anal-fin origin below second dorsal-fin origin; caudal fin with truncate to slightly emarginate margin. Pectoral fins of moderate size, reaching about to anal-fin origin. Pelvic fins minute, bar-like and fused, origin below and just behind pectoral-fin insertions.


Reaches a length of 3.5 cm.


The specific name semivestitus is from the Latin semi- (= partial) and vestitus (= clothed), possibly in reference to the fact that the body scales are confined to the posterior half of the body.

Species Citation

Paraphya semivestita Munro, 1949, Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (12)2: 233, figs 1-11. Type locality: Oyster Channel, Clarence River, New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Glassgoby, Gobiopterus semivestitus (Munro 1949)


Hoese, D.F. 2015. Family Gobiidae. pp. 1573-1582 in Roberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 4 pp. 1153-1748. 

Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 1994. Family Gobiidae. pp. 781-810, figs 690-714 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 2008. Family Gobiidae. pp. 749-773 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

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

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)

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

Larson, H.K. 2011. The marine temperate gobioids of southern Australia and the New Zealand region. Ch. 2.4, pp. 235-241 in Patzner, R.A. et al. (eds). The Biology of Gobies. CRC Press, Science Publishers.

McDowall, R.M. & David, B.O. 2008. Gobiopterus in New Zealand (Teleostei: Gobiidae), with observations on sexual dimorphism. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 42: 325–331

Munro, I.S.R. 1949. A new genus and species of transparent gobioid fish from Australia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 12 2(19): 229-240 figs 1-11

Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. & Trnski, T. 1998. Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification. Nedlands, Western Australia : University of Western Australia press 474 pp.

Whitley, G.P. 1951. New fish names and records. Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1949–50: 61-68 figs 8-10 (as Munrogobius semivestitus)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428169

Feeding:0-10 m

Habitat:Estuaries, coastal bays

Max Size:3 cm TL


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