Zebrus zebrus (Risso, 1826)

Common names: English: Zebra goby
German: Zebragrundel

Common synonyms: none.

Length: 4 - 7 cm.

Brown to olive green with dark bands across the body. White or yellow band from base of pectoral fin to eye and from there rectangularly towards the nape. Small yellow spots on sides of the head. Dorsal and caudal fins with small dark stripe across. Characteristic sign: dark band on base of pectoral fin (similar in Chromogobius zebratus).

Head flattened. Snout shorter than eye. Anterior nostril tubular, with tentacle. Filamentous rays at P. Predorsal area and head naked. Pelvic disc complete.
32-34 (29-38) scales in lateral series.
Fins: D1 VI (V-VI); D2 I+11; A I+9 (7-10); P 17 (16-18).


Spawning season in June and July. After Nieto & Alberto (1992) from April to November. Eggs (1.8 x 0.53 mm) are recorded from underside of Gracilaria (red algae). Hatch at 2.76 mm after 7 days. Spawn probably more than once a year.

0.1 - 15 m, sometimes to 36 m (Kesici & Dalyan, 2019). Rocky shores. Boulder fields, tidal pools, also lagoons. Juveniles sometimes associated with sea urchins. Less common.

Zebrus zebrus
Photograph: Stefano Guerrier ©
Tuscany, Italy



Species list
General info


Mediterranean: rare at north African coast; Atlantic: southern Spain.



Literature on Zebrus zebrus

Ahnelt H., 1990: Chromogobius quadrivittatus, Chromogobius zebratus und Zebrus zebrus (Pisces: Gobiidae: Erstnachweis für Korsika (Frankreich) und Sardinien (Italien). Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien 91: 27-41.

Ahnelt H., 1991: Some rare fishes from the western Mediterranean Sea. Ann. Nat. hist. Mus Wien Ser. B 92: 49-58.

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

Bogordodsky S., Kovacic M., Ozen O. et al., 2010: Records of two uncommon goby species (Millerigobius macrocephalus, Zebrus zebrus) from the Aegean Sea. Acta Adriatica 51: 217-222.

De Buen F., 1928: Sobre dos especies del genere Gobius (Gobius zebrus Risso y Gobius thori nov. nom.). Notas Res. Inst. Esp. Ocean. ser. 2, 22: 1-12.

Dieuzeide R., M. Novella & J. Roland (1955): Catalogue des poissons des côtes Algériennes. Bull. Sta. de Pêche et d'aqui de Castiglione III: 1-384.

Engin, S., Irmak, E., Seyhan, D., Akdemir T. & Kesin, A.C. (2018). Gobiid fishes of the coastal zone of the Northeastern Aegean Sea. Marine Biodiversity, 48: 1073-1084.

Fricke, R., Bileceno?lu, M. & Sar?, H.M. (2007). Annotated checklist of fish and lamprey species of Turkey, including a Red List of threatened and declining species. Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde, 706: 1-169.

Herler J. & R.A. Patzner, 2001: Microhabitats of cryptobenthic gobies in submarine cave systems. 10. Europ. Congr. Ichthyol, Prague. p. 105.

Kesici, N. B. & Dalyan, C., 2019: New record of the zebra goby, Zebrus zebrus (Risso, 1827), in the Bosphorus Strait (Turkey). Turkish Journal of Bioscience and Collections, 3(1): 8-10.

Kovacic M., 1997: Cryptobenthic ichthyofauna in the Kvaner Area, Adriatic Sea. P. Congr. Europ. Ichthyol.

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., Bussotti, S. & Guidetti , P., 2005: First record of the zebra goby, Zebrus zebrus (Pisces: Gobiidae), in the Ionean Sea. Annales Ser. hist. nat. 15: 1-4.

Kovacic, M. and Engin, S. 2009. First record of the zebra goby, Zebrus zebrus (Gobiidae), in the Black Sea. Cybium 33(1): 83-84.

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., Patzner R.A. & Schliewen U., 2012: A first quantitative assessment of the ecology of cryptobenthic fishes in the Mediterranean Sea. Mar. Biol. 159: 2731-2742.

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.

Kovacic M., Bonello J.J. & Evans J., 2013: Three new records of Gobiidae from Malta with morphology, colouration and identification of the smallest known juveniles of two small gobiid species. Cybium 37: 233-239.

Kovacic M., Sanda R., Cekovska K., Soukupova T. & Vukic J., 2021: Zebrus pallaoroi sp. nov.: a new species of goby (Actinopterygii: Gobiidae) from the Mediterranean Sea with a DNA-based phylogenetic analysis of the Gobius-lineage. Contributions to Zoology 2021: 1-33.

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.

Lozano L., 1960: Peces Fisoclistos, Tercera Parte. Subseries Toracicos (Ordenes Equeneiformes y Gobiformes), Prdiculados y Asimetricos. Mems. r. Acad. Clenc. exact. fis. nat. nat. Madr. ser. Ciencias Naturales 1-613.

Mejri R., Menif D. & Magsodi M.O. et al., 2007: Nouvelles donnees sur la distribution geographique de Zebrus zebrus poisson Gobiidae (Risso, 1826) au niveau des cotes Mediterraneennes meridionales. Rapp. Comm. int. Mer Medit. 38: 539.

Miller P.J., 1977: Gobies from Rhodes and systematic features of Zebrus zebrus (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Zool. J. Linnean Soc. 60: 339-362.

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.

Nieto P. & L.J. Alberto, 1992: The presence of Zebrus zebrus (Risso, 1826) (Gobiidae) on the Atlantic coast of Spain. Cybium 16: 137-144.

Patzner R.A., 1999: Sea urchins as hiding-place for juvenile benthic teleosts (Gobiidae, Gobiesocidae) in the Mediterranean Sea. Cybium 23: 93-97.

Patzner R.A., Moosleitner H., 1998: Die Grundeln des Mittelmeeres. Teil 4. Kleine Grundeln des Hartbodens 2. Das Aquarium 349: 38-410.

Patzner R.A. & J. Herler, 2001: Mikrohabitate von kryptobenthischen Meergrundeln in marinen Höhlensystemen. 3. Tg. Ges. Ichthyol., Wien. p. 37.

Ramos A.A., 1985: Contribucion al conocimiento de las biocenosis bentonicas litorales Isla Plana o Nueva Tabarca (Alicante). In: La reserva marina de la Isla Plana o Nueva Tabarca (Alicante)(Ed.: Ramos A.A.) pp. 111-147. Such Serra, Alicante.

Rioja E., 1920: Una campana biologica en el Golfo de Valencia. Anal. Inst. Gen. Tecn. Valencia 1-36.

Risso A., 1826: Histoire naturelle des principales productions de l'Europe méridionale et particuliement de celles des environs de Nice et des Alpes maritimes. Paris et Strasbourg, Vol. III, XVI+ 486 p.

Saad A., 2005: Check-list of bony fish collected from the coast of Syria. Turkish J. Fish. Aqu. Sci. 5: 99-106.

Sparta A. 1948: Uova e larve di Gobiidae. IV. Gobius zebrus Risso (con osservazioni sul dispositivo degli organi ciatiformi negli adulti de ambi i sessi). Boll. Pesca Piscic. Idrobiol. (n.s.) 3: 7.

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.




Photographs of Zebrus zebrus

Zebrus zebrus
Tuscany, Italy
Photograph: Stefano Guerrier ©
Zebrus zebrus
Tuscany, Italy
Photograph: Stefano Guerrier ©
Zebrus zebrus
Ibiza, Baleares, aquarium (caught in 5 m), September 1995
Photograph: Robert A. Patzner ©



Drawings of Zebrus zebrus



Drawings from Miller, 1986

Copyright © 2019 - Robert A. Patzner, Department of Bioscienses, Univ. Salzburg, Austria.
State: 2019-07-14
E-mail: robert.patzner@sbg.ac.at