Redhead Stylophora Goby, Paragobiodon echinocephalus (Rüppell 1830)

Other Names: Redhead, Redhead Coral Goby, Redhead Goby, Warty-headed Goby

A Redhead Stylophora Goby, Paragobiodon echinocephalus, at Guam. Source: David Burdick / License: All rights reserved

A small blackish goby with a reddish-orange head that lives amongst the branching coral Stylophora pistillata

All immature Redhead Stylophora Gobies are female, and at some stage during their life, may change sex to become male. Unlike most fishes that change sex however, this species is able to reverse this sex change and become female again.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Paragobiodon echinocephalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024,

Redhead Stylophora Goby, Paragobiodon echinocephalus (Rüppell 1830)

More Info


Monte Bello Islands to Adele Island, and offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Hibernia Island in the Timor Sea, and Murray Islands to One Tree Island, Queensland, also reefs in the Coral Sea; records from NT not verified. Elsewhere, the species is common and widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.
This coral-associated species lives among branches of Pocillopora, Seriatopora, and Stylophora coral, with a preference for Stylophora pistillata.


The Redhead Stylophora Goby is an obligate coral-dweller living in small groups among branching corals. Populations are driven by the combined effects of changes in the host coral population and the goby's reproductive season (Kuwamura et al. 1994). 

The Redhead Stylophora Goby undergoes bi-directional sex change. Immature individuals are all female, and may change sex from female to male at some stage. Unlike most fish species that change sex, males are able to change back to females.

Although larger coral heads contain more gobies than smaller corals, only the largest male and female within each group form a monogamous pair and are reproductively active. Females spawn adhesive eggs onto a coral branch and and the male parent guards the clutch for 4-5 days until the larvae hatch. The species is short-lived and has a pelagic larval duration of 23-36 days. 


The specific name echinocephalus is from the Greek echinos, (= prickly, spiny) and the cephalus (= head) in reference to the bristle-like papillae on head and nape.

Species Citation

Gobius echinocephalus Rüppell, 1830, Fische Rothen Meeres 3: 136, pl. 34(3). Type locality: Massawa, Eritrea, Red Sea.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Redhead Stylophora Goby, Paragobiodon echinocephalus (Rüppell 1830)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428212

Biology:Bi-directional sex change

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-47 m

Habitat:Reef associated, in branching corals

Max Size:4 cm TL

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