Emperor Reefgoby, Priolepis akihitoi Hoese & Larson 2010

An Emperor Reef-goby, Priolepis akihitoi, in the Izu Ocean Park, Japan, depth 11 m. Source: Izuzuki / www.izuzuki.com. License: CC by Attribution-ShareAlike

A small yellowish-brown goby with narrow pale bands on the head and body, a large black basal spot on the first dorsal fin, and the caudal fin with a white outer margin and three-four short dark bars on upper part.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Priolepis akihitoi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4830

Emperor Reefgoby, Priolepis akihitoi Hoese & Larson 2010

More Info


Shark Bay, Western Australia, the southern Great Barrier Reef and Moreton Bay, Queensland, and Sydney, New South Wales. Elsewhere, the species occurs in New Caledonia and Japan.
Individuals or pairs inhabit caves and rocky crevices.


Dorsal fin VI + I, 9-10; Anal fin I, 8; Pectoral fin 20. 
Eyes slightly elevated resulting in a shallow pit in interorbital area and a shallow groove along dorsoposterior margin of eye; ctenoid scales completely covering predorsal, reaching to above mideye, anteriormost scales sometimes cycloid, no naked patch immediately before the first dorsal spine; small cycloid scales cover pectoral base; 11-13 rows of small cycloid scales cover prepelvic area; cheek usually no scales, rarely with 1 or 2 scales near dorsoposterior margin of preoperculum; operculum with a patch of small ctenoid scales dorsally; sensory papilla rows on cheek with transverse pattern; pelvic fins connected to form a plate, no interspinal membrane mouth oblique, forming an angle of about 40°-45° with body axis.


Head and body with narrow light bands, and with dark edges; a large elongate black spot anteriorly on first dorsal fin; 3-4 short vertical dark brown bars on dorsal part of caudal fin.


Species of the genus Priolepis form monogamous pairs, and are capable of bidirectional sex change. In laboratory experiments with female-female pairs, the larger individual changed sex to male, and in male-male pairs, the smaller changed to female. The gonads of these species simultaneously formed ovarian and testicular portions with an accessory gonadal structure (Manabe et al. 2013). 


The species is named for Emperor Akihito of Japan, for his significant and innovative contributions to the systematics of gobioid fishes.

Species Citation

Priolepis akihitoi Hoese & Larson 2010, Ichthyol. Res. 57: 373, figs 1, 5a, b. Type locality: Futo, Ito City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. 


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Emperor Reefgoby, Priolepis akihitoi Hoese & Larson 2010


Akihito, Sakamoto, K., Ikeda, Y. & Sugiyama, K. 2002. Gobioidae. pp.1139-1310. In: Nakabo, T. (ed.) Fishes of Japan with pictorial keys to the species. Vol 2. 2nd English Ed. Tokai University Press, 1749 pp. (p. 1173, as Priolepis sp.)

Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 2010. Description of two new species of the genus Priolepis from the Indo-Pacific with redescription of Priolepis profunda and Priolepis psygmophilia. Ichthyological Research 57(3): 367-372. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10228-010-0170-6

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6 (as Priolepis species)

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) (p. 331, as Priolepis sp. 1)

Larson, H. 2016. Priolepis akihitoi. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T68333054A68333794. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T68333054A68333794.en. Downloaded on 09 March 2021.

Manabe, H., Toyoda, K., Nagamoto, K., Dewa S.I., et al. 2013. Bidirectional sex change in seven species of Priolepis (Actinopterygii: Gobiidae). Bulletin of Marine Science 89(2): 635-642. https://doi.org/10.5343/bms.2012.1050

Masuda, H., Amaoka, K., Araga, C., Uyeno, T. & Yoshino, T. 1984. The fishes of the Japanese Archipelago. Vol. 1. Tokai University Press, Tokyo, Japan. 437 pp. (text). (p. 248, Pl. 239D, as Priolepis sp.)

Winterbottom, R. & Burridge, M. 1992. Revision of Egglestonichthys and of Priolepis species possessing a transverse pattern of cheek papillae (Teleostei; Gobiidae), with a discussion of relationships. Canadian Journal of Zoology 70: 1934-1946. (p. 1935, as Priolepis RW sp. 8)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428297


Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:3-25 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:6 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map