Southwestern Goby, Afurcagobius suppositus (Sauvage 1880)

Other Names: South-western Goby

A Southwestern Goby, Afurcagobius suppositus, from the Canning River, Western Australia. Source: Philip Good / FishBase. License: All rights reserved

A moderately-sized pale brown to greyish goby found in muddy and silty areas in estuaries and coastal lakes. The Southwestern Goby has 3-5 dark saddles across the back and a broad dark band across the dorsal fin ending in a black blotch. Males have more elongate dorsal and anal-fin rays, a much larger mouth and more bulbous cheeks than females. 

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray, Afurcagobius suppositus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Sep 2020,

Southwestern Goby, Afurcagobius suppositus (Sauvage 1880)

More Info


Known only from the southwestern corner of Western Australia between the Denmark and Moore rivers. Inhabits estuaries, coastal lakes and the lower reaches of freshwater streams with muddy and silty bottoms, usually in areas with dense aquatic vegetation.


Meristic features: Dorsal fin VI; I, 8; Anal fin I, 7; Pectoral fin 15-16; Pelvic fin I, 5; Tr Sc 10-13 + 1; Vertebrae 11 + 16 = 27.
Body moderately elongate; laterally compressed towards tail; no deepening of caudal peduncle in adults. Snout shallow and long; longer than eye diameter in large adults but shorter in juveniles and smaller adults; juveniles and small adults with small bump on end of snout. Profile of head behind eyes shallow. Anterior nostril tubular, without tentacles; posterior nostril pore-like, midway between anterior nostril and orbit. Eyes dorso-lateral. Mouth horizontal/ superior; jaws subequal, reaching to between pupil and posterior edge of orbit: chin without barbels or transverse fold; teeth erect and caniniform, in several rows medially, outer row in both jaws enlarged; tongue truncate. Branchiostegal membrane attached to lateral margin of isthmus to level of pectoral base.

Lateral scales ctenoid, belly scales small and cycloid; head, including cheek and operculum naked; predorsal scales 0-4, embedded and very small; prepelvic area naked; lateral row of scales 30-38. Lateral line absent; head lateral-line row a1 short.

Two dorsal fins; first ray of first dorsal fin never extended or free at tip. Caudal fin rounded, usually shorter than head. Pectoral fins without free rays, reaching to second dorsal fin. Pelvic fins united into a complete disc, posterior edge rarely to anal fin; anterior membrane complete and well developed.


Reaches about 11 cm SL.


Pale brown to black dorsally, pale ventrally, with a lateral series of 6-7 dark blotches, first below first dorsal fin largest; 3-4 diffuse bars across nape and heavily pigmented spot on mid-line of nape anterior to dorsal fin; large saddle across first dorsal fin and smaller saddles across second dorsal fin and caudal peduncle. Head usually heavily mottled; pigmented from corner of jaw to below eye and over snout to just behind interorbital and as thin line over cheek and preopercle. Dorsal and caudal fins with series of brown or black reticulating lines; first dorsal with prominent dark spot. Pectoral fin transparent. Pelvic and anal fins pale, darker during breeding season.


Primarily a carnivore - feeds on crustaceans, insects, worms, molluscs and small fishes.


Oviparous benthic spawners. Parents guard the eggs until hatching. Eggs are adhesive and deposited onto hard surfaces such as rocks or logs.

Species Citation

Gobius suppositus Sauvage, 1880, Bull. Soc. Philomath. Paris (7)4: 41. Type locality: Swan River, WA.


Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray

Southwestern Goby, Afurcagobius suppositus (Sauvage 1880)


Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Chubb, C.F., Hutchins, J.B., Lenanton, R.C.J. & Potter, I.C. 1979. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Swan-Avon river system, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 8(1): 1-55.

Gill, H.S. 1993. Description of a new genus of goby from southern Australia, including osteological comparisons with related genera. Records of the Western Australian Museum 16(2): 175-210 figs 1-16

Gill, H.S. & Humphries, P. 1995. An experimental evaluation of habitat choice in three species of goby (Pisces : Gobiidae). Records of the Western Australian Museum 17: 231-233.

Gill, H.S. & I. C. Potter. 1993. Spatial segregation amongst goby species within an Australian estuary, with a comparison of the diets and salinity tolerance of the two most abundant species. Marine Biology 117(3): 515-526.

Humphries, P., G.A. Hyndes & I.C. Potter. 1992. Comparisons between the diets of distant taxa (Teleost and Cormorant) in an Australian estuary. Estuaries 15(3): 327-334.

Lake, J.S. 1971. Freshwater Fishes and Rivers of Australia. Melbourne : Nelson 61 pp.

Morgan, D.L., Beatty, S.J., Klunzinger, M.W., Allen, M.G. & Burnham, Q.E. 2011. A field guide to the freshwater fishes, crayfishes and mussels of south‐western Australia. SERCUL.

Morgan, D.L. & Gill, H.S. 2000. Fish associations within the different inland habitats of lower south-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 31-37.

Neira, F.J., A.G. Miskiewicz & T. Trnski. 1998. Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification. University of Western Australia Press. 474 pp.

Sauvage, H.E. 1880. Description des gobioides nouveaux ou peu connus de la collection du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle. Bulletin de la Société Philomathique de Paris 7 4: 40-58.

Whitley, G.P. 1929. Studies in Ichthyology No. 3. Records of the Australian Museum 17(3): 101-143 figs 1-5 pls 30-34

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428143


Habitat:Estuaries, coastal lakes, freshwater streams

Max Size:11 cm SL


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CAAB distribution map