Bridled Goby, Arenigobius bifrenatus (Kner 1865)

A male Bridled Goby, Arenigobius bifrenatus. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved


A medium-sized goby with two oblique dark bands originating on the head. The upper band crosses the gill cover and runs horizontally along the midsides, to at least below the first dorsal fin. The lower band runs from below the eye, through the pectoral fin base to the lower sides, breaking up into diffuse purplish-brown spots above the anal fin. Males have an elongate caudal fin.

Bridled goby pairs live in burrows on sandy, silty or muddy bottoms in the upper reaches of bays and estuaries.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Arenigobius bifrenatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024,

Bridled Goby, Arenigobius bifrenatus (Kner 1865)

More Info


Endemic and widespread in southern Australia from Moreton Bay (Queensland) to the Perth region (Western Australia), and around Tasmania. The Bridled Goby inhabits burrows in the muddy areas of shallow bays and estuaries in 0-10 m.

In 1998, Arenigobius bifrenatus was discovered to have invaded New Zealand. The species is now well established in estuaries around eastern Northland and Auckland. It is thought to have been introduced with ballast water from passing ships (Willis et al. 1999; Francis et al. 2003).


Dorsal fin VI, I, 10; Anal fin I, 10; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 17; Pectoral fin 16-18; Pelvic fin I, 5. 


To 18 cm


Overall greyish to pale olive-brown with iridescent pale blue spots along sides; two oblique dark bands originating on head below eye, upper breaking up into diffuse purplish-brown spots running from pectoral-fin base to lower sides above anal fin.


Feeds on benthic invertebrates.


The sexes are separate and females spawn demersal eggs in burrows.


Juveniles are similar to those of Arenigobius frenatus. They are similar in colour, and the caudal fin is short and rounded in both species. It is sometimes necessary to count scales to separate small individuals.

Similar Species

Differs from Arenigobius frenatus in lacking dark spots on top of the head, having the dark stripe from the pectoral fin base running along the lower surface of the body and breaking up into a series of irregular spots, and an elongate caudal fin in adults.


Species Citation

Gobius bifrenatus Kner, 1865, Reise 'Novara', Zool. 1(5): 177, fig. 3
Type locality: Sydney, New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Bridled Goby, Arenigobius bifrenatus (Kner 1865)


  • Cadwallader, P.L. & Backhouse, G.N. 1983. A Guide to the Freshwater Fish of Victoria. Melbourne : F.D. Atkinson Government Printer 249 pp. figs. 
  • Castelnau, F.L. de 1872. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 1. The Melbourne fish market. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 1: 29-242 1 pl. (as Gobius bassensis)
  • Castelnau, F.L. de 1873. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 3. Supplement to the fishes of Victoria. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 2: 37-58 (as Gobius caudatus)
  • Castelnau, F.L. de 1875. Researches on the fishes of Australia. Intercolonial Exhibition Essays. 2. pp. 1–52 in, Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 : Official Record. Melbourne (as Gobius filamentosus)
  • Chargulaf, C.A., Townsend, K.A. & Tibbetts, I.R. 2011. Community structure of soft sediment pool fishes in Moreton Bay, Australia. Journal of Fish Biology 78: 479–494.
  • Edgar, G.J. & C. Shaw. 1995. The production and tropic ecology of shallow-water fish assemblages in Southern Australia. II. Diets of fishes and tropic relationships between fishes and benthos at Western Port. Victoria. J. Exp. Mar. Biol. Ecol. 194: 83-106.
  • Francis, M.P., Walsh, C., Morrison, M.A. & Middleton, C. 2003. Invasion of the Asian goby, Acentrogobius pflaumii, into New Zealand, with new locality records of the introduced bridled goby, Arenigobius bifrenatusNew Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 37: 105-112
  • Günther, A. 1861. Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum. Catalogue of the acanthopterygian fishes in the collection of the British Museum. London : British Museum Vol. 3 586 pp.
  • Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 1980. Family Gobiidae: gobies. pp. 186-192 6 figs in McDowall, R.M. (ed.) Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 208 pp., figs, 32 pls.
  • Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 1994. Family Gobiidae. pp. 781-810, figs 690-714 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.
  • Hoese, D.F. & H.K. Larson. 2008. Family Gobiidae (pp. 749-773), in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) 2008. Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 
  • Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp.  
  • Hutchins, J.B. & Thompson, M. 1983. The Marine and Estuarine Fishes of South-western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 103 pp. 345 figs. (as Amoya bifrenatus
  • Kner, R. 1865. Reise des Österreichischen Fregatte Novara un die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859, unter den Befehlen des Commodore B. von Wüllerstand-Urbair. Zool. Theil. Fische 1 und 2. Abteilung. Wien : Kurl Gerold's & Sohn 272 pp.
  • Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.
  • Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal fishes of south-eastern Australia. 2nd ed. Sydney, Australia, Gary Allen. 437 pp.
  • Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762.
  • Larson, H.K. & E.O. Murdy. 2001. Gobiidae. Gobies. p. 3578-3603. In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (eds) FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. Vol. 6. Bony fishes part 4 (Labridae to Latimeriidae), estuarine crocodiles. FAO, Rome.
  • Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs.
  • Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 2. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 5(4): 510-629 pls 13-14 (as Gobius castelnaui)
  • 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 (as Gobius infaustus)
  • Willis, T.J., Saunders, J.E.H., Blackwood, D.L. & Archer, J.E. 1999. First New Zealand record of the Australian bridled goby, Arenigobius bifrenatus (Pisces: Gobiidae). New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 33: 189–192.
  • Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37428008

    Biology:Lives in burrows

    Depth:1-10 metres

    Habitat:Inshore, soft bottom

    Max Size:18 cm


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