The itsy-bitsy gangly Callogobius gobies are a curious bunch

By on Apr 04, 2012

A,C,D - Callogobius cf. amikami. B - Callogobius maculipinnis. E throughout - Callogobius clitellus. Photos A,B,C,D by LiveAquaria, E by Digiman.

Gobies are undoubtedly one of the largest species of fish comprising thousands of species living in all water types from fresh, brackish and salt. Many of you would find yourself dealing with the colorful saltwater gobies sometime or other in your quest of reefing, and that’s not surprising. Small, colorful, some even symbiotic, there’s no prizes for guessing why they are simply some of the most popular fish since the establishment of this hobby. Even so, many groups of gobies go unseen and slip right under our very noses. The Callogobius gobies are a textbook example.

Many species within this genus are predominantly brown or adorned with muted coloring, and the taxonomic status for these fishes are all over the place with many undescribed species and a whole bunch of others that look virtually identical from each other. This makes identifying many of the Callogobius species in the field difficult if not, impossible without proper materials. That being said, there are recent occurrences of more colorful, eye catching species to be introduced into the aquarium trade, and we think they’re worth a second look.

Callogobius hasselti is an unfortunate species with the typical drab coloration that most hobbyist will overlook. Photo by Seascape Studio.

Callogobius amikami(?). Picture by Ishigaki-Diving.

Frequent patrons of the Diver’s Den would have noticed the incredibly colorful “Amikami” goby being offered for sale. Pictured right at the top, the little orange and white banded goby is perhaps one of the most colorful and attractive looking member of this genus. The true identity of this species is however, at large. The scientific nomenclature for this fish has been temporarily assigned as Callogobius cf. amikami, meaning that it is not yet identified but bears a close resemblance to C. amikami. As mentioned before, with the ambiguity that surrounds this genus, we’re not even really sure what the real appearance of  C. amikami is like. Digiman from Singapore recently added to his nano fish collection, a Callogobius clitellus, also shown above. While not nearly as colorful as the Amikami imposter, the bicolor white and black bands on the body together with the greenish-yellow “embroidery” on the tail fin makes for a rather unique and interesting addition to a goby only tank.

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If perhaps you’re not one to bother much about color and appearance, then do seriously consider a member of the Callogobius genus the next time you go Goby shopping. They are immensely fascinating creatures as manifested by their flat, almost crocodile like appearance as well as their very interesting swimming style. Check out the clip above of an undescribed Callogobius doing is thing in the muck.

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