Gobius cobitisPallas, 1814

Common names: English: Giant goby
German: Riesengrundel

Common synonyms
Gobius guttatus Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1837
Gobius limbatus Valenciennes in Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1837

Length: 27 cm. Largest species in the Mediterranean.

Bright and dark points ('pepper and salt') with irregular large dark spots along the median line (more distinct in juveniles). Ripe males dark.

Bulky body, large head, protruding eyes, stuffed lips. Tentacles at anterior nostrils with finger-like protrusions. Praedorsal area and nape scaled.
59-67 scales in lateral series.
Fins: D1 VI; D2 I+13 (13-14); A I+11 (10-12); P 20-21 (19-22).

Carnivorous; crustaceans, polychaets, molluscs, small fish and algae. Older animals eat mainly algae (Enteromorpha and other green algae).

Spawning season: March to May, Black Sea: May to July. Reproductive behaviour: goby pattern. Female with 9,000 to 16,000 eggs (5 mm long --> photograph). Larvae planktonic until 9 mm length. Up to 10 years old. Sometime hybridism with G. paganellus.

0.2 - 10 m. Rocky shores. Small caves and crevices. Juveniles in tidal pools. Relatively shy. Less common.

Gobius cobitis
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Cyprus, 5 m depth, July 2002


Species list
General info


Mediterranean; Black Sea; Atlantic.




Literature on Gobius cobitis

Bilecenoglu M., Taskavak E., Mater S. 6 Kaya M., 2002: Checklist of the marine fishes of Turkey. Zootaxa 113: 1194.

Collignon J., 1979: Calalogue raisonne des poissons des mers Marocaines 4. Partie. Bull. Inst. Pech. Mar. Maroc 24: 83-155.

Cuvier G. & A. Valenciennes, 1837: Histoire naturelle des poissons. Tome douzième. Suite du livre quatorzième. Gobioïdes. Livre quinzième. Acanthoptérygiens à pectorales pédiculées. Hist. Nat. Poiss. i-xxiv + 1-507 + 1 p

Faria C. & V.C. Almada, 1995: Some aspects of the breeding ecology of Gobius cobitis Pallas and Gobius paganellus L. in the west coast of Portugal. Nova Série II: 463-471.

Faria C., V.C. Almada & M. Do Carmo Nunes, 1998: Patterns of agonistic behaviour, shelter occupation and habitat preference in juvenile Lipophrys pholis, Coryphoblennius galerita and Gobius cobitis. J. Fish Biol. 53: 1263-1273.

Faria C., V.C. Almada, E.J. Gonçalves, M.F. Gil, C. Baptista & H. Carreiro, 1998: Notes on the social behaviour of Gobius cobitis (Pisces, Gobiidae). Acta Ethol. 1: 49-56.

Gibson R.N., 1970: Observations on the biology of the giant goby Gobius cobitis Pallas. J. Fish Biol. 2: 281-288.

Gil M. F., E.J. Gonçalves, C. Faria, V.C. Almada, C. Baptista & H. Carreiro, 1997: Embryonic and larval development of the giant goby Gobius cobitis (Pisces: Gobiidae). J. Nat. Hist. 31: 799-804.

Kovacic M., 2005: An annotated checklist of the family Gobiidae in the Adriatic Sea. Annales Ser. hist. nat. 15: 1-24.

Kovacic M., 2020: Checklist of gobies (Teleostei: Gobiidae) of the Mediterranean Sea and a key for species identification. Zootaxa 4877: 075-101.

Kovacic M. & Patzner R.A., 2011: North-Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Gobies. In: The Biology of Gobies. (Eds: Patzner R.A. et al.) Science Publishers: 177-206.

Lombarte A., Miletic M. & Kovacic M. et al., 2014: Identifying Mediterranean Sea gobies using otoliths. 5th Int. symp. fish otolith res. appl., Peguera, Mallorca: Poster.

Miller P.J., 1986: Gobiidae. In: Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Volume III. (Eds.: Whitehead P.J.P. et al.) pp. 1019-1085. UNESCO, Paris.

Oppenheimer J.M., 1954: Transplantation experiments on the eggs of Gobius. Publ. Staz. zool., Napoli 25: 18-25.

Pallas P.S., 1814 (1811?): Zoographia rosso-asiatica, sistens omnium animalium in extenso Imperio Rossico et adjacentibus maribus observatorum recensionem, domiclia, mores et descriptiones anatomen atque icones plurimorum, 3 vol. Petropoli 3: 428.

Patzner R.A., Moosleitner H., 1997: Die Grundeln des Mittelmeeres. Teil 2. Große Grundeln des Hartbodens 1. Das Aquarium 335: 38-41.

Sparta A., 1950: Uova e larve di Gobiidae. V. Gobius capito C.V. Boll. Pesca Piscic. Idrobiol. (n.s.) 5: 8.



Photographs of Gobius cobitis

Gobius cobitis
Adriatic Sea, 2 m depth, June 1990
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Gobius cobitis
Ibiza, Baleares, 3 m depth, July 1988
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Gobius cobitis, juvenile
Adriatic Sea, 2 m depth, September 2008
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Gobius cobitis eggs,
tidepool at L'Estrainfer, Guernsey
Photograph: Richard Lord ©




Drawings of Gobius cobitis

Drawings from Miller (1986)



Copyright © 2016 - Robert A. Patzner, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Univ. Salzburg, Austria.
State: 2016-04-17
E-mail: robert.patzner@sbg.ac.at