Spangled Gudgeon, Ophiocara porocephala (Valenciennes 1837)

Other Names: Bumblebee, Mullet Gudgeon, Northern Mud Gudgeon, Tittle

A Spangled Gudgeon, Ophiocara porocephala, in Arrawarra Creek, New South Wales, January 2018. Source: Brett Vercoe / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

See ‘More Info’ tab.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon, Ophiocara porocephala in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 May 2022,

Spangled Gudgeon, Ophiocara porocephala (Valenciennes 1837)

More Info


Known in northern Australia from Kimbolton Spring, WA (123°E) to Maryborough, QLD (25°32'S); occurs elsewhere in the tropical Indo-west Pacific; usually inhabits brackish estuaries and river mouths but enters fresh water at low elevations close to the sea.


D VI, I 8-9; A I, 7-8; C 17; P 14-16; GR 11-13; vertebrae 26 (rarely 27).
Body stout, cylindrical; head dorsally flattened; anterior nostril long reaching lower margin of upper lip; mouth large, length of upper jaw 12.3-15.8% SL; posterior end of maxillary extending to below central to posterior part of eye; gill opening extending beyond the posterior end of urohyal; teeth inwardly curved, thickly set on both jaws, large on outer row and anterior part of inner row of upper jaw, and large on anterior part of outer row and posterior part of inner row of lower jaw
Scales large, cycloid from snout to posterior part of head, mixed with ctenoid posteriorly to beginning of dorsal fin; ctenoid to eye on lateral side of head and to base of pelvic fins; lateral line absent; 33-37 mid-lateral scales; 12-14 horizontal scale rows; 18-26 predorsal scales.
Two separate dorsal fins; pectoral fins rounded; ventral fins separate; caudal fin rounded.


To around 23cm SL.


Generally dark brown or blackish overall, becoming lighter on the sides with a yellowish belly; scales often with pale centres forming scattered white spots on sides; second dorsal and caudal fins with clear spots and white margins, anal fin with a yellow margin.



Species Citation

Eleotris porocephala Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. (1837). Histoire Naturelle des Poissons.  Paris : Levrault Vol. 12 507 pp. pls 344–368 [237].

New Ireland, Seychelles.


Martin F. Gomon

Spangled Gudgeon, Ophiocara porocephala (Valenciennes 1837)


Akihito, P. & Meguro, K. (1974). On gobiid fishes Ophiocara porocephala and Ophieleotris aporos. Jpn. J. Ichthyol. 21(2): 72–84.

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. (2002). Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Lake, J.S. (1978). Australian Freshwater Fishes.  Melbourne: Thomas Nelson 160 pp.

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. (1984). Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management.  Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37429007

Habitat:brackish estuaries and freshwater

Max Size:23cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map