Tridentiger trigonocephalus (Gill 1859)

Common names: English: Chameleon goby
German: Chamäleongrundel

Common synonym

Length: 11 cm.

Two dark brown interrupted stripes on body; lower stripe runs from snout through eyes along mid-body to caudal fin; upper stripe runs from above eyes backward to below posterior end of second dorsal fin, and continues as a saddle on peduncle; black spot on upper posterior peduncle; pale-yellow vertical stripe along the base of pectoral fine; narrow yellowish stripes along the bases of dorsal and anal fins (Goren et al., 2009).

Median predorsal scales o not reach eyes (end about half eye diameter behind eye). No scales on opercle and preopercle. Anterior nostril on short tube. Posterior nostril is oval. Anterior interorbital pores paired (Goren et al., 2009).
Approx. 56 scales in lateral series.
Fins: D VI, I/13; A I/11.

Carnivorous: feeding on small invertebrates, mainly polychaets.

Eggs are deposited in nests which are guarded by the male.

4 - 5 m in the Mediterranean. Lives in a variety of habitats and salinities.

Tridentiger trigonocephalus
Photograph: Kfir Gayer ©
Ashdod Harbor, Israel (from Goren et al., 2009)


Species list
General info



Mediterranean; only in Israel. Indo-Pacific, not in the Red Sea. It is suggested that its occurrence in Israel is the result of an introduction via ballast water of ships.




Literature on Tridentiger trigonocephalus

Goren, M., K. Gayer and N. Lazarus, 2009. First record of the Far East chameleon goby Tridentiger trigonocephalus (Gill, 1859) in the Mediterranean Sea. Aquatic Invasions 4: 413-415.

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.

Reshetnikov, Y.S., 2003. Atlas of Russian freshwater fishes, Vol. 2. Moscow Nauka.






Drawing of Tridentiger trigonocephalus


Drawing from Goren et al., 2009. Sensory pores
AN-anterior nostrils; PN-posterior nostrils; pores AH anterior oculoscapular canal;
K-L posterior oculoscapular canal; M-O preopercular canal





Copyright © 2016 - Robert A. Patzner, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Univ. Salzburg, Austria.
State: 2016-04-17