Gobius paganellus Linnaeus, 1758

Common names: English: Rock goby
German: Felsengrundel

Common synonyms: none.

Length: 10 - 12 cm.

Bright to middle brown with dark marbling. Lateral spots. D1 with orange or yellow margin. Sometimes whitish bar below the eye.
Males during spawning: dark brown body and D1 with bright margin (colouration observed also in September, --> photographs).

Tentacles at anterior nostrils with finger-like protrusions. Praedorsal area and nape scaled. Pelvic disc rounded. Free rays of P well developed.
50-55 (46-59) scales in lateral series.
Fins: D1 VI; D2 I+13-14 (12-15); A I+11-12 (10-13); P 21-22 (18-23).

Carnivorous; crustaceans, polychaets, sometimes small fish.

Spawning season in Mediterranean: January to June. Reproductive behaviour: goby pattern. One female has 1.000 - 9.000 eggs (1.3 - 3 mm). Planktonic larvae (3.6 - 10.5 mm). Up to 10 years old. Sometime hybridism with G. cobitis.

1 - 20 m. Rocky shores. Flat and steep rocks, boulder fields. Quite common.

Gobius paganellus
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Banyuls, Southern France, 10 m depth, September 1990


Species list
General info


Mediterranean; Black Sea; Atlantic; northernmost part of Red Sea.




Literature on Gobius paganellus

Ahnelt H., 2001: Two Mediterranean gobiid fishes with unusual cephalic lateral line canal system. Cybium 25: 261-267.

Bilecenoglu M., Taskavak E., Mater S. 6 Kaya M., 2002: Checklist of the marine fishes of Turkey. Zootaxa 113: 1–194.

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

Costa M., 1988: Écologie alimentaire des poissons de l’estuarie du Tage. Cybium 12: 301–320.

Dunne J. 1978. Littoral and benthic investigations on the west coast of Ireland – IX (Section A: Faunistic and ecological studies). The biology of the rock-goby, Gobius paganellus L., at Carna. Proc R Irish Acad 78 B (12): 179-191.

Engin S. & Seyhan K., 2009: Biological characteristics of rock goby Gobius paganellus in the South eastern Black Sea. Acta Ichthyologica et Piscatoria 39:111-118.

Ergene-Gozukara S & T. Cavas, 2002: Cytogenetic analysis of a Mediterranean gobiid fish Gobius paganellus L., 1758 from Turkey. Folia Biol. (Krakow) 50: 5-7.

Fage L., 1918: Shore-fishes. Rep. Dan. oceanogr. Exped. Mediterr. 2, Biology. (A.3): l54 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 29: 463-471.

Francour P., Bodilis P., Cottalorda J.M., Seytre C. 2010. Inventaire des Gobiidae dans la Réserve Naturelle de Scandola (Corse) et à proximité de ses limites. Contrat Parc Naturel Régional de la Corse. Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, ECOMERS publ., Nice: 1-54.

Hajji F., Ouannes-Ghorbel A., Ghorbel M. et al., 2012: Diet shifts of Gobius paganellus (Teleostei, Gobiidae) from the Gulf of Gabes (Central Mediterranean). Vie et Milieu 62: 69-76.

Hajji F., Ouannes-Ghorbel A., Ghorbel M. et al., 2012: Biologia reproductiva del gobio de roca, Gobius paganellus (Actinopterygii: Perciformes: Gobiidae), en la costa del sur de Tunez (Golfo de Gabes). Ciencias Marinas 38: 505-515.

Hefford A.E., 1910: Notes on Teleostean ova and larvae observed at Plymouth in spring and summer 1909. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 9: 58.

Holt E.W.L., 1890: On the ova of Gobius. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. 6: 34-40.

Holt E.W.L., 1899: Recherches sur la reproduction des Poissons osseux principalement dans le Golfe de Marseille. Ann. Mus. Hist. nat. Marseille 5: 128.

Holt E.W.L. & L.W. Byrne, 1898: Notes on the reproduction of teleostean fishes in the south-western district. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 5: 333-340.

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.

Lebour M.V., 1919: The young of the Gobiidae from the neighbourhood of Plymouth. J. mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 12: 48-80.

Linnaeus C., 1758: Systema Naturae, ed. X. 1: 230-338.

Lo Bianco S., 1909: Notizie biologiche riguardanti specialmente il periodio di maturita sessuale degli animali del golfo di Napoli. Mitt. zool. Stn. Neapel 19: 513-761.

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.

Louisy P., 2002: Meeresfische, Westeuropa, Mittelmeer. Ulmer, Stuttgart.

Louiz I., Ben Attia M. & Ben Hassine O.K., 2013: Some aspects of reproductive biology of Gobius paganellus (Gobiidae) on the north-eastern coasts of Tunisia (Bizerta lagoon). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 93 2235-2246.

Mazé R.A. 2004. Seasonal and ontogenetic diet shifts in an intertidal population of Gobius paganellus ( Teleostei, Gobiidae) from the Cantabrian coast. Vie Milieu 54: 1-6.

Miller P.J., 1961: Age, growth, and reproduction of the rock goby, Gobius paganellus L., in the Isle of Man. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 41: 737-769.

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.

Patzner R.A. & H. Moosleitner, 1997: Die Grundeln des Mittelmeeres. Teil 2. Große Grundeln des Hartbodens 2. Das Aquarium 336: 32-36.

Pinchuk V.I., 1966: Novye dannye o bychke Gobius paganellus L. u berogov Sovietskovo Soyuza. Zool. Zh. 45: 612-614.

Sparta A., 1934: Uova e larve di Gobiidae. I. Gobius paganellus L. Mem. R. Com. talassogr. ital. 211: 10.

Wilkins H.K.A. & A.A. Myers, 1992: Microhabitat utilisation by an assemblage of temperate Gobiidae (Pisces: Teleostei). Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 90: 103-112.


Photographs of Gobius paganellus

Gobius paganellus
Ibiza, Balearic Islands, 18 m depth, September 1993
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Gobius paganellus
Ibiza, Balearic Islands, 12 m depth, September 1988
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Gobius paganellus
Ibiza, Balearic Islands, 18 m depth, September 1993
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Gobius paganellus
Cyprus,  8 m depth, July 2002, during night
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©




Drawings of Gobius paganellus



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