Blue-spotted Coral-goby, Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker 1875

Other Names: Red-spotted Coralgoby

A Blue-spotted Coral-goby, Gobiodon erythrospilus, in an aquarium at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Phil Munday / Lizard Island Field Guide, License: CC by Attribution

A green coralgoby with five vertical red lines (those on cheek and gill cover do not extend above eye level), no small black spot on the upper rear of the gill cover, and 3-8 series of round or elongate red spots along the side that may join to form stripes. Juveniles have additional vertical blue lines on the body. The species lives amongst the branches of table-like Acropora corals. Coralgobies are capable of changing sex in both directions.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Gobiodon erythrospilus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2020,

Blue-spotted Coral-goby, Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker 1875

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Known in Australia from the northern Great Barrier Reef to One Tree Island, Queensland, and south to the Solitary Islands, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical; west Pacific. The species may be more widespread in Australia as it has been misidentified as Gobiodon histrio.
Blue-spotted Coral-gobies mostly shelter among the branches of the table-like coral, Acropora nasuta; also among A. valida, A. millepora (the coarse branched form) and sometimes A. tenuis.


Dorsal fin VI + I,10-11; Anal fin I, 8-10; Pectroal fin 19-21; Caudal fin 6-7 upper or lower unsegmented rays; Vertebrae 26.


Body yellowish-green to sky-blue, with numerous reddish spots and stripes; 5-6 (usually 5) vertical reddish bars on head and pectoral-fin base, those on cheek and operculum relatively short, usually not or just reaching dorsally beyond dorsal margin of eye; body with 3-8 longitudinal series of rounded or longitudinally elongate scarlet/reddish spots, sometimes joined to form longitudinal stripes; dorsal, anal and caudal fins pale yellow with very narrow black distal margins; no black spot at dorsoposterior corner of operculum.


Often confused with Gobiodon histrio.

Species Citation

Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker, 1875, Arch. Néerland. Sci. Nat. 10: 122. Type locality: East Indies (lectotype RMNH.PISC.6187).


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Blue-spotted Coral-goby, Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker 1875


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Bleeker, P. 1875. Gobioideorum species insulindicae novae. Archives Néerlandaises des Sciences Naturelles 10: 113-134.

Duchene, D., Klanten, S.O., Munday, P.L., Herler, J. & van Herwerden, L. 2013. Phylogenetic evidence for recent diversification of obligate coral-dwelling gobies compared with their host corals. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69: 123–132.

Harold, A.S., Winterbottom, R., Munday, P.L. & Chapman, R.W. 2008. Phylogenetic relationships of Indo-Pacific coral gobies of the genus Gobiodon (Teleostei: Gobiidae), based on morphological and molecular data. Bulletin of Marine Science 82(1): 119-136.

Herler, J., Bogorodsky, S.V. & T. Suzuki, T. 2013. Four new species of coral gobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae: Gobiodon), with comments on their relationships within the genus. Zootaxa 3709(4): 301-329.

Herler, J., Koblmüller, S. & Sturmbauer, C. 2009. Phylogenetic relationships of coral-associated gobies (Teleostei, Gobiidae) from the Red Sea based on mitochondrial DNA data. Marine Biology 156: 725-739.

Hobbs, J.-P.A., P.L. Munday, P.L. & Jones, G.P. 2004. Social induction of maturation and sex determination in a coral reef fish, Proceedings of the Royal Society B 271: 2109-2114.

Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 2006. Family Gobiidae. pp. 1612-1697 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. (1656, in part as Gobiodon histrio)

Kroon, F.J., Munday, P.L. & Westcott, D.A. 2009. Equivalent whole-body concentrations of 11-ketotestosterone in female and male goby Gobiodon erythrospilus, a bidirectional sex-changing fish, Journal of Fish Biology, 75: 685-692

Kroon, F.J., Munday, P.L. & Westcott, D.A. 2009. Equivalent whole-body concentrations of 11-ketotestosterone in female and male goby Gobiodon erythrospilus, a bidirectional sex-changing fish. Journal of Fish Biology 75: 685-692.

Munday, P.L. 2004. Competitive coexistence of coral-dwelling fishes: the lottery hypothesis revisited. Ecology 85(3): 623-628.

Munro, I.S.R. 1967. The Fishes of New Guinea. Port Moresby : Dept. Agric. Stock Fish. 651 pp. 23 figs 84 pls.

Pereira, P.H.C. & Munday, P.L. 2016. Coral colony size and structure as determinants of habitat use and fitness of coral-dwelling fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 553: 163-172.

Pereira, P.H.C., P.L. Munday, P.L. & Jones, G.P. 2015. Competitive mechanisms change with ontogeny in coral-dwelling gobies. Ecology 96(11): 3090-3101.

Sørensen, C., Munday, P.L. & Nilsson, G.E. 2014. Aerobic vs. anaerobic scope: sibling species of fish indicate that temperature dependence of hypoxia tolerance can predict future survival, Global Change Biology 20(3): 724-729. 

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 (133, in part as Gobiodon histrio)

Schubert, M., Munday, P.L., Caley, M.J., Jones, G.P. & Llewellyn, L.E. 2003. The toxicity of skin secretions from coral-dwelling gobies and their potential role as a predator deterrent, Environmental Biology of Fishes 67: 359-367.

Shibukawa, K., Suzuki, T. & Aizama, M. 2013. Gobiodon aoyagii, a new coral goby (Actinopterygii, Gobiidae, Gobiinae) from the West Pacific, with redescription of a similarly-colored congener Gobiodon erythrospilus Bleeker, 1875. Bulletin of the National Museum of Nature and Science (Ser. A) 39(3): 143-165.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428471

Behaviour:Commensal with Acropora corals


Depth:1-15 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:4.5 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map