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:
Dianne J. Bray, Paragobiodon echinocephalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Jan 2020,

Redhead Stylophora Goby, Paragobiodon echinocephalus (Rüppell 1830)

More Info


Known in Australia from Scott Reef and the Monte Bello Islands to Adele Island, Western Australia, Hibernia Island in the Timor Sea, and Murray Islands to One Tree Island, Queensland, also Diamond Islet, Coral Sea; records from NT not verified. Elsewhere, widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.


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

This species 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, male Paragobiodon echinocephalus 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 breeds. Females spawn adhesive eggs onto a coral branch and and the male parent guards the clutch for 4-5 days until the larvae hatch.

Species Citation

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


Dianne J. Bray

Redhead Stylophora Goby, Paragobiodon echinocephalus (Rüppell 1830)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428212

Biology:Bi-directional sex change

Depth:1-10 m

Habitat:Reef associated, in branching corals

Max Size:4 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map