Tuesday 18 June
Giant goby (Gobius cobitis)
Giant goby fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Giant goby description
Britain's largest native species of goby, the giant goby is greyish to olive brown (4) with 'pepper and salt' freckling, which is particularly marked in smaller fish (5). The deep body is covered in small scales, the eyes are small and the tail stalk is short. Males in breeding condition are darker in colour than females (4).
- Head-body length: up to 27 cm (2).
Giant goby biology
This species can often be observed basking on sunny days in pools (4). It has a broad diet, which includes large quantities of green algae, polychaete worms, crustaceans, small fishes, and insects (4). The range of food taken varies depending on the age of the fish. Younger giant gobies mainly take small items such as small amphipods and ostracods while older individuals take larger items, until a large proportion of the food intake consists of green algae (4).
Both sexes live for about ten years, sexual maturity is reached at two to three years of age, and breeding occurs between March and May. Up to 12,000 eggs are laid per clutch (5); the eggs are attached to the underside of stones and fertilised by the male who then guards them (4). Females produce two clutches of eggs each year for about eight years (4).Top
Giant goby range
In the UK, the giant goby is known only from the coasts of south-west England between Wembury and the Isles of Scilly (4). Outside of the UK it is found from the western English Channel to Morocco, in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Gulf of Suez, (4) probably via the Suez Canal (5).Top
Giant goby habitat
Inhabits rock pools high up in the intertidal zone of sheltered shores. Occupied pools typically contain boulders under which giant gobies can take shelter, and have inputs of freshwater, so the water in the pools is usually brackish (4).Top
Giant goby status
Fully protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (3).Top
Giant goby threats
In 1992, giant gobies were absent from one site in south Devon and one from south Cornwall, which are parts of the historic range. It was assumed that the species was in decline, but the species was recorded again in the south Cornwall site in 1998. Although there is no evidence that the species is endangered in the UK, it seems likely that it is vulnerable to human disturbance due to the recreational pressures on the shore habitat (4).Top
Giant goby conservation
In 1998 the species was added to Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 (3). Under this Act it is an offence to kill, injure, take or sell giant gobies, or to damage or destroy any structure or place used by an individual for shelter or protection (3). Furthermore, it is included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme.Top
Find out more
For more on the giant goby see:
- The Marine Life Information Network (Marlin) species information:
- For more on English Nature's Species Recovery Programme see:
Information authenticated by Dr Keith Hiscock of the Marine Biological Association of the UK:
- Simple plants that lack roots, stems and leaves but contain the green pigment chlorophyll. Most occur in marine and freshwater habitats.
- A group of small shrimp-like crustaceans that includes sandhoppers, beach hoppers, and water lice.
- Slightly salty water.
- Diverse group of arthropods (a phylum of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton) characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (parts of the mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, slaters, woodlice and barnacles.
- Tiny marine and freshwater crustaceans with a shrimp-like body enclosed in a bivalve shell.
- Polychaeta means ‘many bristled’; this class of worms are segmented and bear many ‘chaetae’ (bristles).
- UNEP-WCMC (January, 2002)
- Fishbase (January, 2002)
- JNCC protected species (September, 2008)
- The Marine Life Information Network (Marlin) species information (January, 2002)
- Miller, P.J. (1997) Fish of Britain and Europe. Harper Collins, London.
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.