Round Goby

ANIMAL:
Round Goby Neogobius melanostomus

Type of Animal:
Goby

Habitat:
Rocky areas, sand areas, cobble areas, gravel areas, macrophyte areas, rock/concrete habitats w/ ample hiding spots, lake bottoms, river bottoms, coastal areas, coastal margins w/ high thermal energy/low exposure/high tributary influence, areas w/ sunken objects/piers/mussel beds, coastal lakes, lagoons, ballast water, continental shelves w/ sandy/rocky bottoms, found from nearshore all the way to 590.551 ft deep, thrive in brackish, fresh, & saltwater, prefers water temps of 30.2-86 F

Location(s):
Native to Sea of Marmara, Black Sea, Sea of Azov, Crimea, Caucasus, Caspian Sea, & surrounding areas. Introduced in much of Europe, Baltic Sea, Great Lakes region, & Finger Lakes region of New York.

Appearance:
Small soft-bodied fish w/ distinctive black spot on 1st dorsal fin, big raised eyes, mottled coloration w/ gray/black/brown/olive green markings, males inky black during spawning season, frog-like head, spineless dorsal fins, fused scallop-shaped pelvic fin

Food/Diet:
Bivalves, gastropods, isopods, small insects, insect larvae, amphipods, crabs, fish eggs, small/young fish (including young of own species), polychaetes, zooplankton

Status in Wild:
Stable

Conservation:
Not applicable

Lifestyle:
Colonies of 10-50 fish, w/ breeding males guarding territories during spawning season & taking care of newly hatched fry. Also found alone.

Additional Info:

Called:
Male
Female
Young: Fry
Group: Colony
 
Weight:
Male: 0.87-1.62 oz
Female: 0.4-0.77 oz
 
Gestation:
2.5 weeks 

Life Span:
Males: 1-3 years
Females: 3-4 years

Body Length:
Male: 3.94-5.12 in
Female: 2.83-3.94 in
Young: 1 in

Tail Width:
Male: 0.394-0.512 in
Female: 0.283-0.394 in

Main predators are other fish, diving birds, wading birds, seabirds, water snakes, & otters.
 
These fish highly invasive in areas where introduced-they prey on small native fish as well as fish eggs, they outcompete native fish, they spawn several times a season, they drive native fish away, they’re very adaptable, & they increase toxin levels in predators due to being bottom-feeders.
 
Reach maturity at a year old.
 
Sneaker males attempt breeding by sneaking into nests & spraying sperm on eggs while guarder breeding males are mating.

Fun Fact(s):
These fish can find food in total darkness.
 
Females can spawn up to 6 times a year during spawning season (April-September), w/ each clutch having 89-4,000 eggs. Breeding males guard nests w/ eggs of many females.
 
Males die after spawning.
 
1st brought to North America in ballast waters of ships from Europe. 1st found in North America in 1990 in St. Clair River near Windsor, Ontario & rapidly spread.

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