Sphynx Goby, Amblygobius sphynx (Valenciennes 1837)

Other Names: Sphinx Goby

A Sphynx Goby, Amblygobius sphynx, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, in a Halimeda/Caulerpa algae bed, depth 24 m. Source: Lyle Vail / Lizard Island Filed Guide, http://lifg.australianmuseum.net.au/. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A yellowish-brown goby becoming white below with 5-6 dark brown bars separated by white markings along the side, and a row of small widely spaced black spots along the back.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Amblygobius sphynx in Fishes of Australia, accessed 12 Jul 2020,

Sphynx Goby, Amblygobius sphynx (Valenciennes 1837)

More Info


Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea and East Africa to Micronesia.
Inhabits sandy or sparse seagrass areas on protected reefs, usually hovering near the bottom - sheltering in burrows when threatened.


Dorsal fin VI + I, 13-15; Anal fin I, 13-15; Longitudinal scale series 55. 
Body depth 3.6-4.0 in SL.Dorsal fins equal in height; caudal fin rounded. Scales ctenoid on body, cycloid on nape, abdomen and breast; predorsal scales extending to interorbital space; scales dorsally on opercle, absent from cheek.


Feeds mostly on small crustaceans and gastropods, sifted from mouthfuls of sand.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Sphynx Goby, Amblygobius sphynx (Valenciennes 1837)


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

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

Larson, H. & Greenfield, D. 2016. Amblygobius sphynx. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T193082A2192677. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T193082A2192677.en. Downloaded on 19 September 2019.

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. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.  

Syms, C. & Jones, G.P. 2004. Habitat structure, disturbance and the composition of sand-dwelling goby assemblages in a coral reef lagoon. Marine Ecology Progress Series 268: 221-230

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1837. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 12 507 pp. pls 344-368. See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428050

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-20 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish (uncommon)

Habitat:Reef associated, sand/seagrass

Max Size:18 cm TL

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