Pomatoschistus minutus
   (Pallas, 1770)

Common names: English: Sand goby
German: Sandgrundel, Sandküling

Common synonyms: none.

Length: 7 - 10 cm.

Yellowish with numerous small brown dots on back side. Irregular dark spots along midline (last on base of caudal fin). Males with 4 - 5 vertical dark bars. D1 with dark (black or blue) spot (more close to margin than to base) in both sexes; see P. microps. Breast unpigmented. Dorsal and anal fins with russet bands. Dark bar beween eye and mouth.

Snout as long or longer than eye diameter. Flat profile at eyes. Caudal fin rounded. Praedorsal area and breast scaled. Similar to P. microps.
55-75 scales in lateral series.
Fins: D1 VI (VI-VII); D2 I+10-12; A I+9-12; P 18-21.

Carnivorous; small crustaceans, polychaets.

Spawning season in Black Sea: March to July. Age: 2 years.

1 - 20 m, sometimes to 70 m. Soft bottoms, mostly in groups. Juveniles in brackish water. Rare in Mediterranean.

Pomatoschistus minutus
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Hooge Aquarium, Germany, June 2002


Species list
General info


Mediterranean: in north western part and northern Adriatic Sea. Atlantic: main distribution.



Literature on Pomatoschistus minutus

Aarnio, K. & E. Bonsdorff, 1993: Seasonal variation in abundance and diet of the sand goby Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas) in the Northern Baltic archipelago. Ophelia 37, 19-30.

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

Boissin E., Hoareau T.B. & Berrebi P., 2011: Effects of current and historic habitat fragmentation on the genetic structure of the sand goby Pomatoschistus minutus (Osteichthys, Gobiidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 102: 175-198.

Bouchereau, J.-L., 1997a: Biodiversity of tactics used by three Gobiidae (Pisces; Teleostei): Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas, 1770), P. microps (Kroyer, 1838), Gobius niger Linnaeus, 1758, to survive in a Mediterranean lagoon environment. Ocean. Stud. 26: 153-170.

Bouchereau, J.-L., 1997b: Comparison of life history strategies of three Gobiidae Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas, 1770), P. microps (Kroyer, 1838), Gobius niger Linneus [Linnaeus], 1758, (Pisces, Teleostei) over their geographical range. Ocean. Stud. 26: 171-190.

Bouchereau, J.-L., J.-P. Quignard, J.-A. Tomasini, J.-C. Joyeux & C. Capape, 1989: La population de Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas, 1770) de la lagune de Mauguio, France. Parametres demographiques et croissance individuelle. Cah. Biol. Mar. 30: 487-514.

Bouchereau, J.-L., J.-P. Quignard, J.-A. Tomasini, J.-C. Joyeux & C. Capape, 1990: Cycle sexuel, condition, fecondite et ponte de Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas, 1770) (Gobiidae) du golfe du Lion, France. Cybium 14: 251-267.

Bouchereau, J.-L., J.-P. Quignard, J.-C. Joyeux & J.-A. Tomasini, 1991: Strategies et tactiques de reproduction de Pomatoschistus microps (Kroyer, 1838) et de Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas, 1770) (Pisces, Gobiidae) dans le Golfe du Lion (France). Nids, determinismes de la sedentarite et de la migration. Cybium 15: 315-346.

Bouchereau, J.-L. & O. Guelorget, 1998: Comparison of three Gobiidae (Teleostei) life history strategies over their geographical range. Ocean. Acta 21: 503-517.

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

De Buen E., 1923: Gobius de la Peninsula Iberica y Baleares. Grupos Lesueurii, Colonianus, Affinis y Minutus. Mem. Inst. eso. Oceonaogr. 3: 121-266.

de-Sostoa A. & F.J. de-Sostoa, 1979: Notas sobre la ictiofauna del Delta del Ebro (NE de la Peninsula Iberica). Inst. Mun Cien. Nat. Misc.Zool. 5: 178-179.

Ehrenbaum E., 1905: Eier und Larven vin Fischen des Nordischen Planktons, Teil I. 4: iv+I 1-I 216+iii.

Fonds M., 1970: Remarks on the rearing of gobies (Pomatoschistus minutus and P. lozanoi) for experimental purposes. Helgol. wiss. Meeresunters. 20: 620-628.

Franco A, F. Riccato,S. Malavasi, P. Franzoi & T. Torricelli, 2006: Food resource utilization by gobies (Pisces, Teleostei) in the shallows of the Venice Lagoon. Biol. Mar. Medit. 13: 866-868.

Healey M.C., 1971: Gonad development and fecundity of the sand goby, Gobius minutus Pallas. Trans. Am. Fish Soc. 3: 520-526.

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

Kinzer J., 1960: Zur Ethologie und Biologie der Gobiiden unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Schwarzgrundel Gobius jozo. Zool. Beitr. 6: 207-290.

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., 1920: The eggs of Gobius minutus, pictus, and microps. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K. 12: 253-260.

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

Lugli M., 2013: Sand pile above the nest amplifies the sound emitted by the male sand goby. Environmental Biology of Fishes 96: 1003-1012.

Magnhagen C., 1988: Changes in foraging as a response to predation risk in two gobiid fish species, Pomatoschistus minutus and Gobius niger. Mar Ecol. Prog. Ser. 49: 21-26.

Magnhagen C., 1990: Reproduction under predation risk in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus, and the black goby, Gobius niger: the effect of age and longevity. Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol. 26: 331-335.

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.

Ozen O., E. Irmak & M. Bilecenoglu, 2007. Occurrence of Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas, 1770) (Pisces: Gobiidae) at the north Aegean coast of Turkey. Annales, Series Historia Naturalis 17: 161-164. Article --> here

Padoa E., 1953: Sottordine Gobiiformes. Famiglia Gobiidae in uova, larve e stadi giovanili di Teleostei. Fauna Flora Golfo Napoli, 38: 648-678.

Pallas P.S., 1770: Spicilegia Zoologica. Pisces. Berlin 1: 1-45.

Pampoulie C, E. Rosecchi, J.-L. Bouchereau & A.-J. Crivelli, 1999. Life history traits of Pomatoschistus minutus in the Rhone Delta , France . J. Fish Biol. 55: 892-896.

Pampoulie C., E.S. Gysels, G.E. Maes, B. Hellemans, V. Leentjes, A.G. Jones & A.M. Volckaert, 2004: Evidence for fine-scale genetic structure and estuarine colonisation in a potential high gene flow marine goby (Pomatoschistus minutus). Heredity 92: 434-445.

Patzner R.A. & H. Moosleitner, 1999: Die Grundeln des Mittelmeeres. Teil 5. Kleine Grundeln des Weichbodens 2. Das Aquarium. 370: 54-60.

Petersen C.G.J., 1891: On the eggs and breeding of our Gobiidae. Rep. Dan. biol. Stn. 2: 1-9.

Petersen C.G.J., 1919: Our gobies (Gobiidae) from the egg to the adult stages. Rep. Dan. biol. Stn. 26: 47-66.

Riehl R., 1978: Zur Fischfauna von Ibiza, Balearen. Senckenbergiana biol. 59: 173-182.

Shann E.W., 1910: Some notes on the life-history and rate of growth in Gobius minutus. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. 5: 217-239.

Stefanni E., 2000: First record of the Norway goby in the Adriatic Sea. J. Fish Biol. 57: 828-830.

Stefanni S. & J.L. Thorley, 2003: Mitochondrial DNA phylogeography reveals the existence of an evolutionarily significant unit of the sand goby Pomatoschistus minutus in the Adriatic ( Eastern Mediterranean ). Molec. Phylogen. Evol. 28: 601-609.

Stefanni S., E.S. Gysels, F.A.M. Volckaert & P.J. Miller, 2003: Allozyme variation and genetic divergence in the sand goby, Pomatoschistus minutus (Teleostei: Gobiidae). J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 83: 1143-1149.

Terofal F., 1986: Meeresfische. Steinbachs Naturführer. Mosaik Verlag, München.

Vodyanitzki W.A. & I.L. Kazanova, 1954: Key for identification of the pelagic eggs and fish larvae in the Black Sea. Trudy vses. nauchno-issled. Inst. morsk. ryb. khoz. Okeanogr. 28: 240-327 [in Russian].

Wallis G.P. & J.A. Beardmore, 1983: Genetic differentiation between populations of Pomatoschistus minutus from the Bristol Channel and the Adriatic. Genetica (Dortr.) 62: 75-80.

Webb C.J., 1980: Systematics of the Pomatoschistus minutus complex (Teleostei: Gobioidei). Phil Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. Biol. Sci. 291: 201-241.

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 Pomatoschistus minutus


Pomatoschistus minutus
Le Grau du Roi, Gard (France, Medit.), Dec. 2018.
Photograph: Julien P. Renoult ©
Pomatoschistus minutus
Atlantic, Estuaire de la Rance, Aug. 2020
Photograph: Pierre Corbrion ©
Pomatoschistus minutus
 Marseillan, Hérault (France, Medit.), May 2018.
Photograph: Julien P. Renoult ©
Pomatoschistus minutus
Le Grau du Roi, Gard (Medit), Jun 2020.
Photograph: Julien P. Renoult ©


Drawings of Pomatoschistus minutus

Drawing by F. Wendler from Treofal (1986)


Drawings from Miller (1986)


Copyright © 2021 - Robert A. Patzner, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Univ. Salzburg, Austria.
State: 2021-01-03
E-mail: robert.patzner@sbg.ac.at