British Marine Life Study Society

Leopard-spotted Goby
Common Name(s): Leopard-spotted Goby 
Scientific Name: Thorogobius ephippiatus
Family: Gobiidae 

Usual Size:  13 cm 
> 39 g 

 Photograph by Ron Barrett

Medium-sized goby (a family of small fishes with a notorious reputation of being difficult to differentiate, characterised by a pair of dorsal fins, a pelvic fin fused into a weak suction cup). This is the most striking of the British species as the orange blotches are conspicuous in contrast to the coloration of the other species which is usually cryptic to match a background of rock or sand. 
Usually with a blue tinge to the body. 

Late spring around the British coasts. 
It spawns in late spring. It appears to have a short life span, dying after spawning, but further observations are necessary to be sure of this. 

In rocky areas below low water mark and only rarely found intertidally in the proximity of deep water. Widespread. 

Small crustaceans like caprellids, worms. 

Off the coasts to the south and west of Britain only. Western English Channel only. 

Now discovered to be found further afield. A recent report from off Brown's Bay, north of Cullercoats, Tyneside, would indicate they could be found all around the English coast. 

30 August 2010
We were diving  at a wreck site known as the Inner Lees, in Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, enjoying some amazing marine life.  We spotted two of these fish, which we hadnít seen before, hiding under the wreck, near the sea bed.  We were struck by the blue colour and the distinct spots.  They were quite large. I have been browsing the internet to try to identify them and believe they are Leopard-spotted Gobies.  As your website mentions them as located mostly in the south of England, I thought Iíd send you this email to let you know they were alive and thriving in Northern Ireland!

Leopard Spotted Goby (Photograph by Pam and George Johnson)

25 August 2007
About half a dozen or so Leopard-spotted Gobies were sighted along with some very tiny juveniles at Brown's Bay which is between Cullercoats and Whitley Bay in North Tyneside. 

Report and Photograph by Pam and George Johnson

16 September 2007
Hi ... since you asked (on the Aquarium project) I will tell.  I was fishing a club match with Rhosneigr SAC at 'Llam Carw' Amlwch North Wales , and due to a twisted ankle I sustained on the footpaths ... I decided to go fish on the small breakwater they have at the port mouth.  Straight away I was into the mini species on every cast, which was a little lob of 2-3 yards.  A Leopard-spotted Goby  was one of them .... in the picture im sending is top: ls goby middle: black goby and bottom : sand or common goby ... although the picture doesnt show it but they were all very close in size.  During the weigh in my leopard spotted showed .03 on the scales and for a brief moment showed .04 before returning to .03 so I surmised it to be in the high 30s grams .....After taking the photo's the little blighters were released back into the harbour :). Imagine me horror when i came home and found the british record to be 39gms ... which incidentally is held by my work mate R JONES.

Report by O D Williams


Additional Notes:
Only recognised as a common British fish after the popularity of SCUBA diving. Not nearly as prevalent as most other British gobies. 
Information wanted: Please send any records of this fish, with location, date, who discovered it, how it was identified, and any other details to 
Shorewatch Project   EMail 
All messages will receive a reply. 
Shorewatch Project
Link:  Gobies1.htm
Differences between Blennies & Gobies
Information supplied by Andy Horton 

British Marine Life Study Society Home Page
News 2019
News 2018
Main Links
Membership Form
Top of the Page