Category Archives: 3.1. Fishes

Ambassis miops Günther

Flag-tailed Glassy Perchlet (Ambassis miops)

The Flag-tailed Glassy Perchlet is a Indo-Pacific species that, within the Polynesian region, can be found in Fiji and Samoa.

The species inhabits clear freshwater streams within 20 kilometers of the sea or the lower reaches of rivers and streams, within freshwater, it may also be found in floodplain habitats, in mangroves, and in river estuaries.

The food habits depend upon the habitat, the perchlet takes more crustaceans and small fish in estuaries than in freshwater, where terrestrial insects and their larvae are dominant.

The reproduction system is not studied, but its wide distribution indicates that it has a marine larval phase.

In Samoa the Flag-tailed Glassy Perchlet is known as lafa.



[1] David Boseto; Aaaron P. Jenkins: A checklist of freshwater and brackish water fishes of the Fiji Islands. Wetlands International-Oceana. Suva, Fiji 2006
[2] Johnson Seeto; Wayne J. Baldwin: A Checklist of the Fishes of Fiji and a Bibliography of Fijian Fishes. Division of Marine Studies Technical Report 1/2010. The University of the South Pacific. Suva, Fiji 2010


Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

Bathygobius fuscus (Rüppell)

Dusky Frillgoby (Bathygobius fuscus)

The Dusky Frillgoby is mainly a sea fish, but does also occur in brackish water, especially in mangrove areas, and occasionally moves also into freshwater.

This is primarily a marine species occasionally entering freshwaters. It is a detritus feeder, and it prefers habitats with sand and rubble, soft coral and open reefs.


Depiction from: ‘Spencer Wilkie Tinker: Hawaiian fishes; a handbook of the fishes found among the islands of the Central Pacific Ocean. Honolulu, Hawaii, Tongg publishing company 1944’

(no known copyright restrictions)

Lentipes rubrofasciatus Maugé, Marquet & Laboute

Red-banded Goby (Lentipes rubrofasciatus)

The Red-banded Goby resembles the Red-nosed Goby (Lentipes kaaea Watson, Keith & Marquet), but is stronger colored.

The body of the male is bluish grey colored, the front of the head between the eyes is red (red nose), at the hind part of the body is a red, belt like band, which includes the second of the two dorsal fins. The anterior of the two dorsal fins, in contrast, is white in color, while all other fins are colorless.

The species is endemic to the Marquesas, where it is known from four (from which?) islands.



[1] Philippe Keith; Clara Lord; Erick Vigneux: In vivo observations on postlarval development of freshwater gobies and eleotrids from French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 17(2): 187-191. 2006

Kuhlia salelea Schultz

Samoan Flagtail (Kuhlia salelea)

The Samoan Flagtail is obviously an endemic species of the Samoan Islands, where it is known so far, however, only from the islands of Tutuila and ‘Upolu.

The fish reaches a body length of only about 11 cm.


Der Samoan name of this species is sesele.



Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

Redigobius leveri (Fowler)

Lever’s Goby (Redigobius leveri)

Lever’s Goby is endemic to the Fiji Islands.

This tiny freshwater goby, which may reach a body length of only about 4 cm, lives in several creeks and rivers in the lowlands of Fiji’s larger islands, but seems, however, not to occur on the island of Vanua Levu.

The fish stays mainly near the bottom of the water and feeds on smaller invertebrates.



Photo: Dr. Paddy Ryan; by courtesy of Dr. Paddy Ryan

Hippichthys cyanospilos (Bleeker)

Blue-spotted Pipefish (Hippichthys cyanospilos)

The Blue-spotted Pipefish is indigenous to the tropical Indo-Pacific, and occurs in the east up to the Fiji Islands, where adult individuals can be found in coastal rivers, and estuaries as well as in mangroves.

This about 16 cm long species is quite variable colored, and can be pale yellow to nearly black in color.

As in all relatives of the seahorses, also in this species the eggs are carried and brood by the males in a brood pouch.



[1] Aaron P. Jenkins; Kinikoto Mailautoka: Hippichthys albomaculosus, a new species of freshwater pipefish (Pisces: Syngnathidae) from Fiji. Aqua 16(3): 111-116. 2010

Awaous ocellaris Broussonet

Eyespot Goby (Awaous ocellaris)

The Eyespot Goby is an about 13 cm long freshwater goby that is indigenous to many mangrove areas, estuaries, and rivers from India to Polynesia.

The fish feed on green algae, small crabs, freshwater shrimps, and other invertebrates.

Like all Polynesian freshwater gobies, also the Eyspot Goby has an amphidromous life cycle, which means, that the spawning takes place in the freshwater, but the embryos are washed out into the ocean, where they remain for a planktonic phase before they return into freshwater to grow and to start the life cycle again.

The Samoan name of the species is mano’o ia pala.



[1] N. Mary; A. Dutartre; P. Keith; G. Marquet; P. Sasal: Biodiversité des Eaux Douces de Wallis et Futuna; Mission d’Octobre 2004. Rapport Final, Ministère de l’Outre-Mer 2006



Depiction from: ‘David Starr Jordan; Robert Earl Richardson: Check-list of species of fishes known from the Philippine Archipelago. Manila: Bureau of Printing 1910′

Smilosicyopus bitaeniatus (Maugé, Marquet & Laboute)

Two-banded Goby (Smilosicyopus bitaeniatus)

This species was described in 1992.

The Two-banded Goby is so far known only from the Vaioa river on the island of Hiva Oa, as well as from the Paaumea river on Ua Pou, Marquesas, but may also occur elsewhere on these island chain.

The species is quite small, it reaches a length of about 3,5 cm. It is mainly pale whitish grey, it bears a broken longitudinal band of dark brown blotches, the fins are pale greyish, the rays are dark brown.



[1] L. A. Maugé; G. Marquet; P. Laboute: Les sicydiinae (Gobiidae) des eaux douces de la Polynésie Française. Description de trois espéces nouvelles. Cybium 16(3): 213-231. 1992
[3] Laura Taillebois; Magalie Castelin; Clara Lord; Ryan Chabarria; Agnès Dettaï; Philippe Keith: New Sicydiinae phylogeny (Teleostei: Gobioidei) inferred from mitochondrial and nuclear genes: Insights on systematics and ancestral areas. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 70: 260-271. 2014
[4] Philippe Keith; Laura Taillebois: Status and distribution of Smilosicyopus species (Teleostei, Gobioidei). Cymbium 38(1): 69-73. 2014


edited: 17.09.2017

Glossogobius illimis Hoese & Allen

Clearwater Goby (Glossogobius illimis)


Fiji: Viti Levu

local names: –


The Clearwater Goby was described in 2012, its distribution area stretches from eastern Asia to Australia and Melanesia. The species is known to occur on Viti Levu, Fiji and is thus mentioned here, it was formerly misidentified as Celebes Goby (Glossogobius celebius Valenciennes), with which it is closely related and which it also closely resembles but which does not occur within the Polynesian region.

The species reaches sizes of up to 11 cm, it mainly inhabits coastal rivers and is especially common in the western Pacific region, where it prefers rivers with clear water that are rich in oxygen.



[1] Douglass F. Hoese; Gerald R. Allen: A review of the amphidromous species of the Glossogobius celebius complex, with description of three new species. Cybium 35(4): 269-284. 2012


edited: 15.12.2018

Lentipes kaaea Watson, Keith & Marquet

Red-nosed Goby (Lentipes kaaea)

The Red-nosed Goby, which is closely related to the Red-banded Goby (Lentipes rubrofasciatus Maugé, Marquet & Laboute), was described in the year 2002.

The Red-nosed Goby occurs in swift, clear streams with rocky bottom.

The tiny males are only about 3 cm long, their front body is glimmering greenish to dark blue, the forehead is bright red to purplish red in color, the second dorsal fin and the body area below are likewise bright red in color. The females, which are about 4,5 cm long, are light brown in color and show some darker brown marbling.

The species was originally known only from New Caledonia and from Vanuatu, but was later found to occur as well on the Fiji Islands and on Wallis and Futuna. [1][2]



[1] R. E. Watson; P. Keith; G. Marquet: Lentipes kaaea, a new species of freshwater goby (Teleostei: Gobioidei: Sicydiinae) from New Caledonia. Bull. Fr. Pêche Piscic. 364: 173-185. 2002
[2] N. Mary; A. Dutartre; P. Keith; G. Marquet; P. Sasal: Biodiversité des Eaux Douces de Wallis et Futuna; Mission d’Octobre 2004. Rapport Final, Ministère de l’Outre-Mer 2006



Photo: J. Pogonoski; from: ‘Aaron P. Jenkins: A preliminary investigation of priority ichthyofaunal areas for assessing representation in Fiji’s forest reserve network. Technical report. Wetlands International-Oceania & Wildlife Conservation Society-South Pacific, Suva Fiji. 2003′

(Reproduction of this report for educational or non-commercial purposes is authorised without the prior permission from the copyright holder.)

Stenogobius genivittatus (Valenciennes)

Chinstripe Goby (Stenogobius genivittatus)

The Chinstripe Goby is an endemic species of the Society Islands, where it occurs on the islands of Mo’orea and Tahiti.

The species lives in freshwater in streams and estuaries and wanders well upstream, however, it is not able to overcome natural barriers like waterfalls and is thus restricted to the lower reaches of the streams near the sea.

The Chinstripe Goby reaches sizes of about 4,8 to 8 cm.

The species feeds on insects, crustaceans and smaller fishes. [1]



[1] R. E. Watson: A provisional review of the genus Stenogobius with descriptions of a new subgenus and thirteen new species. (Pisces: Teleostei: Gobiidae). Records of the Western Australia Museum 15(3): 627-710. 1991



Depiction from: ‘Albert C. L. G. Günther: Andrew Garrett’s Fische der Südsee. Journal des Museum Godeffroy 4(2). Hamburg: L. Friederichsen & Co. 1873-1910’

(not in copyright)

Giuris margaritacea (Valenciennes)

Snakehead Gudgeon (Giuris margaritacea)

The Snakehead Gudgeon is the only species of its genus, it is widely distributed over large parts of Asia as far away as Australia and beyond, and inhabits flowing and stagnant freshwater bodies with dense plant growth.

The fish reaches a length of about 23 cm.

The Snakehead Gudgeon feeds on various smaller animals but also on algae.

The species, like almost all of the Polynesian goby- and sleeper goby species, has a pelagic marine larval stage, that means the larvae live among the marine plankton for several months, and then return back into their birth rivers.


The Hoofprint Goby (Lairdina hopletupus Fowler) from the Sigatoka river on the island of Viti Levu, described in 1953 as a distinct species, is now regarded as a synonym.



Photo: Dr. Paddy Ryan; by courtesy of Dr. Paddy Ryan