Shoulderspot Goby, Gnatholepis cauerensis (Bleeker 1853)

Other Names: Eye-bar Sand-goby, Shoulder-spot Sandgoby

Gnatholepis cauerensis at North Murion Island, Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia. Source: Andrew J. Green / Reef life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A whitish to pale grey sand-dwelling goby with a dark bar through the eye and across the top of the head, rows of close-set reddish to dark-brown spots along the sides, and a small orange spot above the pectoral-fin base.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Gnatholepis cauerensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Sep 2023,

Shoulderspot Goby, Gnatholepis cauerensis (Bleeker 1853)

More Info


Rottnest Island to offshore reefs of north Western Australia (including Ningaloo Reef), Cartier Island in the Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to Sydney, New South Wales; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.


The species is named cauerensis for the type locality Cauer (plus –ensis, a suffix denoting place), a village on the southwestern coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.

Species Citation

Gobius cauerensis Bleeker, 1853, Natuurwetensch. Tijdschr. Nederland. Indië 4: 269. Type locality: Cauer, Sumatra, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Shoulderspot Goby, Gnatholepis cauerensis (Bleeker 1853)


Acero, A., Dominici-Arosemena, A. & Murdy, E. 2010. Gnatholepis cauerensis (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154848A115242256. Accessed on 10 March 2022.

Allen, G.R. 2007. New species description. pp. 282 in Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

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

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 (p. 430, as Gnatholepis inconsequens)

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

Bleeker, P. 1853. Diagnostische beschrijvingen van nieuwe of weinig bekende vischsoorten van Sumatra. Tiental V–X. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 4: 243-302.

Brandl, S.J., Quigley, C.N., Casey, J.M., Mercière, A., et al. 2022. Metabolic rates mirror morphological and behavioral differences in two sand-dwelling coral reef gobies. Marine Ecology Progress Series 684: 79-90.

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93, 193-228 in Hutchings, P. (ed.) Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp.

Goren, M. 1981. Three new species and three new records of gobies from New Caledonia. Cybium 3e 5(3): 93-101 figs 1-5 

Herre, A.W.C.T. 1953. A new species of Gnatholepis with a key to the tropical Pacific species. Philippine Journal of Science 82(2): 193-197 (described as Gnatholepis scapulostigma, type locality Engebi Island, Eniwetok (as Enewetak) Atoll, Marshall Islands)

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202 

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S .J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands: new records, community composition and biogeographic significance. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 203–219

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (as Gnatholepis scapulostigma)

Larson, H.K. & Buckle, D.J. 2012. A revision of the goby genus Gnatholepis Bleeker (Teleostei, Gobiidae, Gobionellinae), with description of a new species. Zootaxa 3529: 1–69.

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. (as Gnatholepis scapulostigma)

Randall, J.E. & Greenfield, D.W. 2001. A preliminary review of the Indo-Pacific gobiid fishes of the genus Gnatholepis. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute, Grahamstown 69: 1-17 (as Gnatholepis anjerensis, in part)

Thacker, C.E. 2004. Phylogeny and species boundaries in the gobiid genus Gnatholepis (Teleostei: Perciformes). Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology 142(4): 573-582 (as Gnatholepis anjerensis, in part)

Whitley, G.P. 1958. Descriptions and records of fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1956–57: 28-51 figs 1-12 (described as Gnatholepis inconsequens, type locality Heron Island, Queensland)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37428393

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-50 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:5.3 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map