Vanderhorstia mertensi Klausewitz, 1974

Common names: English: Mertens' prawn-goby
German: Mertens Garnelengrundel

Common synonym

Length: 11 cm.

Dark stripe on the maxilla, numerous yellow/orange spots on head and the dorsal part of the body, a dark spot on the opercle, a vertical dark stripe (not extending down the belly) below the 4th ray of first dorsal fin, three large dark spots below the second dorsal fin and one dark spot on the caudal peduncle, all fins with distinct yellow spots (except for the pelvic fins) (Bilecenoglu et al., 2008).

Body elongated and laterally compressed; mouth large and oblique, maxilla reaching beyond a vertical through the middle of the eye.
52 scales in lateral series.
Fins: D VI-I, 15; A I+16 (Bilecenoglu et al., 2008).


No informations.

2 - 52 m in the Mediterranean. Inhabits sandy/muddy bottoms and seagrass areas (Bilecenoglu et al., 2008). Rare in the Mediterranean.

Vanderhorstia mertensi
Photograph: Patrick Louisy ©
Kas (Southern Turkey), 20 m depth


Species list
General info



Mediterranean; only in south west of Turkey. Red Sea (Dor 1984), Oman (Randall 1995), Philippines, Taiwan, Papua New Guinea (Froese & Pauly 2009), Japan (Shibukawa and Suzuki
2004) and Australia (Yearsley et al. 2006).




Literature on Vanderhorstia mertensi

Bilecenoglu B., M.B. Yokes & A. Eryigit, 2008: First record of Vanderhorstia mertensi Klausewitz, 1974 (Pisces, Gobiidae) in the Mediterranean Sea. Aquatic Invasions 3: 475-478.

Dor M., 1984: Clofres, checklist of the fishes of the Red Sea. The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Jerusalem.

Froese R. & D. Pauly, 2009: Fishbase. Worldwide Web Electronic Publication.

Golani D., E. Massutti, L. Orsi-Relini & J.-P. Quignard, 2001: Atlas of exotic fishes in the Mediterranean. This species is not included up to now (2009-04-17).

Gokoglu M., Ozbek E.O. Kebapcioglu T. et al., 2010: The second location records of Apogon smithi and Vanderhorstia mertensi (Pisces) from the Turkish coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Marine Biodiversity Records 3: e83.

Goren M., 2013: Bridging the gap: first record of Mertens' prawn-goby Vanderhorstia mertensi in Israel. Marine Biodiversity Records 6: e63.

Klausewitz W. 1974: Eilatia latruncularia n. gen. n. sp. und Vanderhorstia mertensi n. sp. vom Golf von Aqaba. Senckenbergiana-biol. 55: 205-212.

Randall J.E., 1995: Coastal fishes of Oman. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Shibukawa K. & T. Suzuki, 2004: Vanderhorstia papilio, a new shrimp-associated goby from the Ryukyu Islands, Japan (Perciformes: Gobiidae: Gobiinae), with comments on the limits of the genus. Ichthyological Research 51: 113119.

Turker A., U. Acar, O.S. Kesbic; F. & S. Yapici (2017): The first substantiated record and northward expansion of the Mertens' Prawn-Goby, Vanderhorstia mertensi (Osteichthyes: Gobiidae) in the Aegean Sea. J. Aquacult. Engin. Fish. Res. 3: 1-5.

Yearsley G.K., P.R. Last & D.F. Hoese, 2006: Standard names of Australian fishes. CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research Paper 9: 165.



Photographs on Vanderhorstia mertensi


Vanderhorstia mertensi
Kas (Southern Turkey), 20 m
Photograph: Patrick Louisy ©
Vanderhorstia mertensi
With symbiotic alpheid shrimp (Alpheus rapacida). Kas (Southern Turkey), 20 m
Photograph: Patrick Louisy ©








Drawing of Vanderhorstia mertensi




no drawing available



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