Thorogobius ephippiatus
   (Lowe, 1839)

Common names: English: Leopard-spotted goby
German: Leopardengrundel

Common synonym
Gobius forsteri Corbin, 1958

Length: 8 - 13 cm.

Whitish-grey with dark spots (smaller on the head). Fins colourless, D1 with dark spot at the base.

Predorsal area and head naked. Pelcic disc rounded. Anterior nostril tubular, without tentacle.
36-38 (33-42) scales in lateral series.
Fins: D1 VI (VI-VII); D2 I+11 (10-12); A I+10; P 17-19

Carnivorous; Small crustaceans, polychaets, gastropods, algae.

Spawning season Atlantic: May to July. Male guards nest with 2,500 - 12,000 eggs. Up to 9 years old.

6 - 60 m. In Israel at 156 m. Rocky shores on sandy areas. Sometimes in small groups. Usually resting in front of a small cavity or crevice. Also in caves. Maybe more active during the night. Less common in Mediterranean.

Thorogobius ephippiatus
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Ibiza, Baleares, 43 m depth, September 1992


Species list
General info


Mediterranean: absent at northern African coast and the eastern part; Atlantic.


Literature on Thorogobius ephippiatus

Arko-Pijevac M., B. Cedomir, M. Kovacic & M. Kirincic, 2001: A submarine cave at the island of Krk (North Adriatic Sea). Nat. Croatic. 10: 163-184.

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

Corbin P.G., 1958: A new British fish (Gobius forsteri). Nature (Lond.) 1659.

Escoubet P. & P. Murgia, 1981: Note sur la presence au large des Embiez (Var) de Thorogobius ephippiatus Lowe (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Cybium 5: 65-67.

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.

Gerovasileiou V., Ganias K.; Dailianis T. et al., 2015: Occurrence of some rarely reported fish species in eastern Mediterranean marine caves. Cahiers de Biologie Marine 56: 381-38.

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., Miletic M. & Papageorgiou N., 2011: A first checklist of gobies from Crete with ten new records. Cybium 35: 245-253.

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.

Kovacic M., Sanda R. & Kirincic M., Zanella D., 2012: Geographic distribution of gobies (Gobiidae) in the Adriatic Sea with thirteen new records for its southern part. Cybium 36: 435-445.

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

Lowe M.T., 1839: A supplement to a synopsis of the fishes of Madeira. Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 7: 76-92 (also publ. in Trans. zool. Soc. Lond., 1842, 3: 1-20).

McKay S.I. & P.J. Miller, 1991: Isozyme criteria in the testing of phyletic relationships between species of Gobius and related eastern Atlantic-Mediterranean genera (Teleostei: Gobiidae). J. Fish Biol. 39 (Suppl. A): 291-299.

Miller P.J., 1961. The external appearance and systematic position of Gobius forsteri (Telostei-Percomorphi). Proc. zool. Soc., Lond., 137: 539-551.

Miller P.J., 1969: Systematics and biology of the leopard-spotted goby, Gobius ephippiatus (Teleostei: Gobiidae), with description of a new genus and notes on the identity of G. macrolepis Kolombatovic. J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K., 49: 831-855.

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.

Neumann V. & T. Paulus, 2005: Mittelmeeratlas. Megus, Melle.

Patzner R.A. & H. Moosleitner, 1998: Die Grundeln des Mittelmeeres. Teil 3. Große Grundeln des Weichbodens 2. Das Aquarium 343: 46-48.

Schultz G., 1975: Beobachtungen über Vorkommen und Lebensweise von Thorogobius ephippiatus (Lowe, 1839) (Pisces) in der Nord- und Mitteladria. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien 79: 183-192.

Stern N., Weissman A. & Y. Makovsky (2018): East and deep: Range extension and depth record for the leopard-spotted goby Thorogobius ephippiatus (Lowe, 1839) (Osteichthyes: Gobiidae). J. Appl. Ichthyol. 34: 681-683.

Trkov D., Mavric B., Orlando-Bonaca M. & L. Lipej (2019): Marine cryptobenthic fish fauna of Slovenia (Northern Adriatic Sea). Ann. Ser. hist. nat. 29 DOI 10.19233/ASHN.2019.07.

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.

Wilkins H.K.A. & A.A. Myers, 1993: Shelter utilization by Gobius cruentatus and Thorogobius ephippiatus (Teleostei: Gobiidae). J. Fish Biol. 43: 763-773.

Wilkins H.K.A. & A.A. Myers, 1995: Use of space by Gobius cruentatus and Thorogobius ephippiatus (Teleostei: Gobiidae) in south-west Ireland. Mar. Biol. (Berlin) 124: 27-34.



Photographs of Thorogobius ephippiatus




Thorogobius ephippiatus
Ibiza, Baleares, 40 m depth, September 1994
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©
Thorogobius ephippiatus
Ibiza, Baleares, 43 m depth, September 1992
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©






Drawings of Thorogobius ephippiatus


Drawings from Miller (1986)

Copyright © 2019 - Robert A. Patzner, Department of Biosciences, Univ. Salzburg, Austria.
State: 2019-07-14