Emerald Cling Goby, Stiphodon surrufus Watson & Kottelat 1995

Other Names: Birdsong Cling Goby

Stiphodon birdsong - female. Source: Gerald R. Allen. License: All rights reserved

A cling goby found in clear fast-flowing freshwater streams in the Queensland wet tropics. Males are bright red with a blue head, and females are almost transparent with slightly dusky markings.
In Australia, this species was previously known as Stiphodon birdsong (a junior synonym of S. surrufus) (Keith et al. 2015).

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Stiphodon surrufus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Feb 2021,

Emerald Cling Goby, Stiphodon surrufus Watson & Kottelat 1995

More Info


Found south of Cairns, QLD, and elsewhere in Papua New Guinea, Indonesia (West Papua) and the Solomon Islands. Inhabits clear fast-flowing freshwater streams with rocky bottoms - in altitudes between 40-200 m. 


Second dorsal fin with 9 segmented rays; males with first dorsal fin same height as second dorsal fin; spines not filamentous; pectoral fin usually with 14 rays; predorsal midline naked; body anteriorly, belly, pectoral base and head naked; cycloid scales present midlaterally ventral to first dorsal fin, midline between second dorsal fin and anal fin, and caudal peduncle scales ctenoid.


Like other cling gobies, this species is able to cling to rocks in swift flowing streams using their pelvic fins which are modified into a sucking disk.


The species is named in memory of the ichthyologist Ray S. Birdsong, formerly of Old Dominian University, Virginia.

Species Citation

Stiphodon birdsong Watson, 1996, Rev. Fr. d'Aquariol. Herpétol. 23(3-4): 118, figs 11-13. Type locality: Letak Creek, 25 km SE of Wewak, Papua New Guinea. 


Dianne J. Bray

Emerald Cling Goby, Stiphodon surrufus Watson & Kottelat 1995


Boseto, D. 2012. Stiphodon birdsong. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. . Downloaded on 06 October 2013.

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. 

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.

Keith, P., Lord, C. & Maeda, K. 2015. Indo-Pacific Sicydiine gobies biodiversity, life traits and conservation.Société Française d’icthyologie, Paris, 256 pp.

Kottelat, M. 2013. The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: a catalogue and core bibiography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 27: 1-663.

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., 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) PDF

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.

Watson, R.E., G.R. Allen & M. Kottelat. 1998. A review of Stiphodon from Halmahera and Irian Jaya, Indonesia, with descriptions of two new species (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwater 9(3): 293-304.

Quick Facts


Conservation:IUCN Vulnerable; QLD Vulnerable

Habitat:Freshwater, marine larvae

Max Size:2.3 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map