Gobius couchi
   Miller & El-Tawil, 1974

Common names: English: Couchi's goby
German: Couch-Gundel

Common synonyms: none.

Length: 9 cm, in Mediterranean 7 cm.

Dark reticulation, 5 lateral blotches; golden spots below midline, 1 (sometimes 2) dark cheek spots. Dark spot with white margin at the upper end of the base of the pectoral fin.

Praedorsal area and nape scaled, cheek naked. Pelvic disk rounded to truncate. Anterior nostril with triangular lappet.
Important criterion: the first dorsal fin of this species is different from all other because all the rays of the first dorsal fin have free upper part (no membrane). See photographs ->
40-41 (35-45) scales in lateral series.
Fins: D1 VI; D2 I+13 (12-14); A I+12 (11-13); P 16-17 (15-18).

Omnivorous; polychaets, algae, crustaceans, bivalves.

Spawning in Atlantic: spring.

Less than 1 to 20 m. Often on sand, in quiet waters between and in holse under roots of Cymodocea nodosa. Also on gently sloping bedrocks grooved with channels and pools filld with sand. Lying on the bottom, close to a shelter.

Gobius couchi female
Photograph: Roberto Pillon ©
Croatia, northern Adriatic Sea, 3 m depth, May 2014



Species list
General info


Mediterranean: Spotted distribution in the Mediterranean (see map). Atlantic: south-west of England and Ireland.



Literature on Gobius couchi


Hung Liu H.T., Ahnelt H., Balma G.A.C. & Delmastro G.B., 2009: First record of the rare gobiid fish Gobius couchi in the Ligurian Sea (north-western Mediterranean). Marine Biodiversity Records, https://doi.org/10.1017/S1755267209990534

Karpova E.P. & A.R. Boltachev (2018): Distribution and biological characteristics of Couch's goby Gobius couchi (Gobiidae), a new species for the Black Sea. J. Ichthyol. 58: 303-311.

Kovacic M., 2001: The Kvarner population of Gobius couchi (Teleostei, Gobiidae), a fish new to the Adriatic fauna. Natura Croatica 10: 1-10.

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. & Golani D., 2007: First record of three gobiid species in the Levant. Cybium 31: 89-91.

Kovacic M. & Sanda R., 2009: First record of Gobius couchi (Gobiidae) in the Ionian Sea. Cybium 33: 249-250.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Miller P.J. & M.Y. El-Tawil, 1974: A multidisciplinary approach to a new species of Gobius (Teleostei: Gobiidae) from southern Cornwall. J. Zool. Lond. 174: 539-574.

Özen Ö., Ayyildiz H., Tuncay D. & Bilecenoglu M., 2009: First record of Gobius couchi (Miller and ElTawil, 1974) from the Aegean Sea (Pisces: Gobiidae). Zoology in the Middle East 47:109-110.

Stefanni S. & C. Mazzoldi, 1999: The presence of Couch's goby in the Mediterranean Sea. J. Fish Biol. 54: 1128-1131.

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.



Photographs of Gobius couchi

Gobius couchi, male
Croatia, northern Adriatic Sea, 1 m depth, 2016
Photograph: Roberto Pillon ©
Gobius couchi
Croatia, northern Adriatic Sea, 2 m depth, 2016
Photograph: Roberto Pillon ©
Gobius couchi, male
Croatia, northern Adriatic Sea, 3 m depth, 2014
Photograph: Roberto Pillon ©
Gobius couchi, during night
South of Livorno, Italy, 2 m depth, May 2016
Photograph: Stefano Guerrieri ©





Drawings of Gobius couchi

Above: drawings from Miller, 1986

Right: head lateral-line sensory papillae and canal pores of male, 53.8 + 12.3 mm, AN, PN = anterior and posterior nostrils. Pores in Greek characters. Scale = 3 mm.

From Kovacic, 2001

Copyright © 2019 - Robert A. Patzner, Department of Biosciences, Univ. Salzburg, Austria.
State: 2019-07-16
E-mail: robert.patzner@sbg.ac.at