Aphia minuta (Risso, 1810)

Common names: English: Transparent goby
German: Glasgrundel

Common synonym: Aphia pellucida (Nardo, 1824)

Length: 4 - 6 cm (in Mediterranean 4.5 cm).

Transparent, whitish to reddish. Head slightly pigmented. Row of pigmented cells on back and belly.

Body elongated. Features from larval gobies. Eyes laterally situated. D1 and D2 in great distance to each other (especially in females). During spawning males with large canine teeth in lower jaw. Praedorsal area and head nacked.
23-25 scales in lateral series.
Fins: D1 V (IV-VI); D2 I+12 (11-13); A I+13-14 (11-15); P 17-18 (15-19).


Two spawning seasons: spring and summer in older females, summer and autumn in younger ones. Males and females benthic during reproductive time. Sexually mature after one year, die after breeding.

0.2 - 80 m. Free swimming inshore and in lagoons, sometimes above sea grass. Often in dense shoals. Less common.

Aphia minuta
Photograph: Stefano Guerrieri, Natura Mediterraneo ©
Ardenza-Livorno, Italy, November 2006



Species list
General info


Mediterranean; Black Sea; Atlantic (Morocco to Norway).



Literature on Aphia minuta

Auteri R., A. Abella, R. Baino, P. Righini, F. Serena, R. Silvestri & A. Voliani, 1998: La pesca del rossetto (Aphia minuta, Pisces, Gobiidae) in Toscana. Biol. Mar. Med. 5: 477-486.

Auteri R., R. Baino & A. Abella, 2000: Biology and population dinamic [dynamic] of the transparent goby: a locally important resource of artisanal fisheries. Biol. Mar. Mediterr. 7: 144-157.

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

Caputo V., G. Candi, M. La Mesa & E. Arneri, 2001: Pattern of gonad maturation and the question of semelparity in the paedomorphic goby Aphia minuta. J. Fish Biol. 58: 656-669

Caputo V., G. Candi, E. Amesi, M. La Mesa, A. Gregoriani, C. Cinti & M. Provinciali, 2001: Apoptosis and mass mortality in the paedomorphic goby Aphia minuta (Gobiidae). 10. Europ. Congr. Ichthyol, Prague. p. 100.

Caputo V., M.L. Mesa, G. Candi & P.N. Cerioni, 2003: The reproductive biology of the crystal goby with a comparison to that of the transparent goby. J. Fish Biol. 62: 375-385.

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

Fage L., 1918: Shore-fishes. Rep. Dan. oceanogr. Exped. Mediterr. 2, Biology. (A.3): l54 p.

Fish Watch Forum: www.fish-watch.org/

Iglesias M., E.B. Brothers & B. Morales-Nin, 1997: Validation of daily increment deposition in otoliths. Age and growth determination of Aphia minuta (Pisces: Gobiidae) from the northwest Mediterranean. Mar. Biol. (Berlin) 129: 279-287.

Iglesias M., E. Massuti & B. Morales-Nin, 1992: Datos biologicos de dos especies (Aphia minuta y Coryphaena hippurus) capturadas estacionalmente en Mallorca. In: Alemany, A. [Ed.]. Historia natural 91. Vol. 1. Universitat de les Illes Balears, Palma de Mallorca. 1-367. Chapter pagination: 351-359.

Iglesias M. & J. Miquel, 2000: Assessment of the Aphia minuta stock (Pisces: Gobiidae) by acoustic methods from the Bay of Alcudia (Mallorca, Western Mediterranean). Sci. Mar. 62: 19-25.

Iglesias M. & B. Morales-Nin, 2001: Life cycle of the pelagic goby Aphia minuta (Pisces: Gobiidae). Sci. Mar. 65: 183-192.
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Kovacic M., 2003: Hyperbenthic gobies in the Kvarner area, Adriatic Sea. J. Fish Biol. 63: 1051–1055.

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.

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.

La Mesa M., 1999: Age and growth of Aphia minuta (Pisces, Gobiidae) from the central Adriatic Sea. Sci. Mar. 63: 147-155.

La Mesa, M., E. Arneri, V. Caputo & M. Iglesias, 2005: The transparent goby, Aphia minuta: review of biology and fisheries of a paedomorphic European fish. Rev. Fish Biol. Fisheries 15: 89-109.

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

Mancini L. & Cavinato P. G., 1969: Osservazioni morfologiche e biometriche sul Gobiide Aphya minuta nelládriatico centrale e lacune considerazioni in rapporto alla pesca. Boll.Pesca Piscic.Idrobiol. 24: 49-60.

Martinez-Bano P., F. Vizuete & J. Mas, 1993: The fishery of the transparent goby, Aphia minuta (Risso, 1810) on the fishing grounds off Murcia (southeastern Spain). Sci. Mar. 57: 199-205.

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.

Nardo G.D., 1824. Osservazione ed aggiunte all' Adriatica ittiologia pubblicata dal sig. Cav. Fortunata Luigi Naccari presentate dal sig. Domenico Nardo al sig. Giuseppe Cernazai di Udine. Giorn. Fisica Chimica Storia Nat. Med. Arti, Pavia 222-234, 249-263.

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

Pane L., Giacco E., Mariottini G.L. et al., 2010: Accrescimento di Aphia minuta mediterranea de Buen, 1931 in condizioni di laboratorio. Biologia Marina Mediterranea 17: 278-279.

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

Relini G., G. Palandri, M. Relini, F. Garibaldi, G. Torchia, C. Cima, E. Massaro, A. Piccone & M. Bellingeri, 1998: Pesca sperimentale del rossetto in Liguria. Biol. Mar. Med. 5: 487-502.

Risso A., 1810: Ichtyologie de Nice, ou histoire naturelle des poissons du département des Alpes Maritimes. Paris, xxxvi+388 p. (Reprint, 1966, Asher, Amsterdam).

Rojo A.L., 1985: Osteologia del chanquete, Aphya minuta [Aphia minuta] (Risso, 1810) (Pisces: Gobiidae). Bol. Inst. Epan. Oceanogr. 2: 165-179.

Ruggeri P., A. Splendiani, M. Giovannotti et al. (2016): The role of life-history traits, selective pressure and hydrographic boundaries in shaping the genetic structure of the transparent goby, Aphia minuta. Marine Ecology 37: 518-531.

Tirelli V., S. Legovini, D. Borme et al. (2016): Diel feeding of the transparent goby Aphia minuta (Pisces, Gobiidae) in the Northwestern Adriatic Sea in spring time. Marine Ecology 37: 920-926.

Photographs of Aphia minuta

Aphia minuta
Livorno Calafuria, Italy, May 2010, during night
Photograph: Stefano Guerrieri, Natura Mediterraneo ©
Aphia minuta
Thau lagoon (Southern France), July 2018, 3 m depth
Photograph: Patrick Louisy, Fish Watch Forum ©




Drawings of Aphia minuta


Drawings from Miller, 1986

Copyright © 2019 - Robert A. Patzner, Department of Biosciences, Univ. Salzburg, Austria.
State: 2019-06-14
E-mail: robert.patzner@sbg.ac.at