Black Stiphodon, Stiphodon pelewensis Herre 1936

Other Names: Black stiphodon, Daintree Cling Goby

A male Black Stiphodon, Stiphodon atratus, from Fergusson Island, D’Entrecasteaux Islands, Papua New Guinea. Source: Gerald R. Allen. License: All rights reserved

A streamgoby found in clear fast-flowing coastal streams in northern Queensland. Males are dark with 5-6 indistinct bars between the second dorsal and anal fins. Females have a dark mid-lateral stripe and dark blotches on the caudal peduncle.

In Australia, this species was previously identified as Stiphodon atratus, a junior synonym of S. pelewensis.

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

Black Stiphodon, Stiphodon pelewensis Herre 1936

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North of Cooktown to south of Cairns, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the west Pacific: Palau, New Guinea, Indonesia, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Adults inhabit steep-gradient rainforest streams that flow directly to the sea. These streams are fast-flowing with high oxygen levels. The gobies are found in pools and riffle zones, swimming near the bottom or clinging to rocks with their fused disc-like pelvic fins.


Omnivore - feeds on microinvertebrates, diatoms and algae.


Species in the genus Stiphodon are amphidromous and live in steep gradient coastal rainforest streams. Females spawn adhesive demersal eggs in freshwater. After hatching, the larvae are carried out to the sea, and migrate back to freshwater streams as post-larvae.


The species is named pelewensis for the Pelew Islands (= Palau), the type locality.

Species Citation

Stiphodon pelewensis Herre 1936, Philippine Journal of Science 59(2): 282. Type locality: Koror Island, Palau Islands (as Gorror, Pelew Islands).


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Black Stiphodon, Stiphodon pelewensis Herre 1936


Ebner, B.C., Thuesen, P.A., Larson, H. & Keith, P. 2012. A review of distribution, field observations and precautionary conservation requirements for sicydiine gobies in Australia. Cybium 35: 397–414. (as Stiphodon atratus)

Ebner, B.C. & Thuesen, P. 2011. Discovery of stream-cling-goby assemblages (Stiphodon species) in the Australian Wet Tropics. Australian Journal of Zoology 58: 331–340. (as Stiphodon atratus)

Herre, A.W. 1936. Fishes in the Zoological Museum of Stanford University. 3. New genera and species of gobies and blennies and a new Myxus from the Pelew Island and Celebes. Philippine Journal of Science 59(2): 275-287 figs 1-3 pl. 1

Keith, P., Lord, C. & Maeda, K. 2015. Indo-Pacific Sicydiine Gobies Biodiversity, life traits and conservation. Paris : Société Française d'Ichtyologie 256 pp. 

Keith, P., Marquet, G., Lord, C., Kalfatak, D. & Vigneux, E. 2010. Poissons et crustacés d'eau douce du Vanuatu. Paris : Société Française d'Ichtyologie 253 pp.

Larson, H.K. & Murdy, E.O. 2001. Eleotridae, Gobiidae. pp. 3574-3604 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Marquet, G., Keith, P. & Vigneux, E. 2003. Atlas des poissons et des crustacés d'eau douce de Nouvelle-Calédonie. Patrimoines naturels (M.N.H.N./S.P.N.) 58: 1-282. (as Stiphodon atratus)

Taillebois, L., Castelin, M., Ovenden, J.R., Bonillo, C. & Keith, P. 2013. Contrasting genetic structure among populations of two amphidromous fish species (Sicydiinae) in the Central West Pacific. PLoS ONE 8(10): e75465, 13 pages) PDF

Thuesen, P.A. 2004. Biological barriers to gene flow and population genetic structure of an endemic rainbow-fish, Cairnsichthys rhombosomoides. B.Sc.(Honours) Thesis, James Cook University, Townsville (as Stiphodon sp.)

Thuesen, P.A., Ebner, B.C., Larson, H.K., Keith, P., Silcock, R.M., Prince, J. & Russell, D.J. 2011. Amphidromy links a newly documented fish community of continental Australian streams, to oceanic islands of the west Pacific. PLoS ONE 6(10): e26685 (11 pages) (as Stiphodon atratusPDF

Watson, R.E. 1996. A review of Stiphodon from New Guinea and adjacent regions, with descriptions of five new species (Teleostei : Gobiidae: Sicydiinae). Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpétologie 23(3–4): 113-132 figs 1-24.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428405


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern; QLD Vulnerable

Habitat:Freshwater, marine larvae

Max Size:8 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map