Tiger Sandgoby, Nesogobius tigrinus Hammer, Hoese & Bertozzi 2015

A male Tiger Sandgoby, Nesogobius tigrinus, from Kangaroo Island, South Australia - photographed in an aquarium. Source: Michael Hammer / Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. License: All rights reserved

A small well-camouflaged sandgoby found only at Kangaroo Island off the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia. Males have four prominent short dark bars on the side, and a dusky to black first dorsal fin. Females have elongate body spots instead of distinct bars.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Nesogobius tigrinus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Sep 2020,

Tiger Sandgoby, Nesogobius tigrinus Hammer, Hoese & Bertozzi 2015

More Info


Endemic to Kangaroo Island, South Australia. Inhabits intertidal/subtidal areas in sheltered bays in north-east Kangaroo Island (northern Shoal Bay, Western Cove and upper American River).

Individuals inhabit lower intertidal and upper subtidal areas on sandy and muddy bottoms with broken shell, sometimes in association with sparse marine eel grass Zostera and the algae Homorsira: appears not to occupy fringing ribbon weed Posidonia in clean sands of deeper water.


Dorsal fin VI + 8-9; Anal fin 6-9; Pectoral 15-17 (all branched); Caudal fin13-14 segmented rays, 9 branched rays; Midline predorsal scales 0; Gill rakers on outer face of first arch (total) 7-9; Lower gill rakers on first arch 6-8; Lower gill rakers on second arch 2-4; Longitudinal scale count 27-33; TRB 7-9; pterygiophore formula 3(12210); vertebrae 10-11 + 19-20 = 29-30; a single epural.
Scales absent before pelvic fin; first dorsal fin with six spines; second dorsal and anal fins without a spine. Head pores: an anterior nasal pore, posterior nasal pore, median posterior interorbital pore, infraorbital pore and terminal lateral canal pore above and just behind posterior preopercular margin, no preopercular pores, but a shallow depression sometimes extending ventrally behind preoperculum. Gill opening wide, reaching forward to below posterior preopercular margin. Body scales ctenoid; head naked, anterior body scales reaching forward to a line from first dorsal origin to above pectoral- fin base.
Urogenital papillae of male very long, length about 4 times width at base. Papilla of female triangular, without lobes, broad at base, length about 1.5 times width at base.



Males have four prominent short, black vertical bars, first below and just behind first dorsal origin, second just behind second dorsal origin, third behind end of second dorsal fin and fourth on caudal peduncle closer to caudal fin than end of second dorsal fin; often a thin fifth band on base of caudal fin. Females have horizontally elongate spots in the same positions as the bands in males, with smaller black spots between the elongate spots, and a thin vertical bar on base of caudal fin. Males also have a vertical black bar below the eye and a black bar ventrally on anterior part of the operculum. Females have a vertical bar below the eye and a short black line extending forward to the upper lip, a black oval spot at the posteroventral margin of eye and a slanted U-shaped black mark dorsally on the operculum; dark bands and spots often faded in preserved material. The first dorsal fin of males is dark, without distinct spots; females have pale or with grey mottling along middle of fin.


Feeds on tiny benthic invertebrates such as micro-molluscs.





Similar Species


The specific name is from the Latin tigrinus meaning banded.

Species Citation

Nesogobius tigrinus Hammer, Hoese & Bertozzi 2015, Zootaxa 4057(3): 375, figs 3-7. Type locality: Western Cove, Kangaroo Island, South Australia, 35°44'1" S, 137°35'18" E, 0.3-0.8 m over sand and broken shell, seine at low tide.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Tiger Sandgoby, Nesogobius tigrinus Hammer, Hoese & Bertozzi 2015


Hammer, M.P., Hoese, D.F. & Bertozzi, T. 2015. A new species of near-shore marine goby (Pisces: Gobiidae: Nesogobius) from Kangaroo Island, Australia. Zootaxa 4057(3): 371–384. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4057.3.4 Abstract

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37 428436

Depth:0-1 m

Habitat:Sand/mud bottoms with broken shell

Max Size:3.5 cm SL


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