Rock goby

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Scientific name: Gobius paganellus
This little fish is found in rockpools during the summer months and has a clever adaptation that stops it being swept away by strong waves - their pelvic fins are fused to form a sucker that it uses to cling onto rocks.

Top facts


Length: up to 12cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The rock goby is a small, elongated fish with a large head and big eyes. It is found on rocky seabeds in shallow seas and is also commonly spotted in rockpools during the summer months. It is well camouflaged against its rocky home with brown mottled markings along its eel-like body. They feed on small prawns, crabs and worms. There are many different kinds of Goby found in UK seas, but the rock goby is the one most commonly spotted in a rockpool. Gobies can be identified by their 2 dorsal fins.

What to look for

There are several similar species of Goby in UK seas which can be difficult to tell apart. The rock goby is usually pale to dark brown with mottled markings and dark bands along its body. In breeding season, the male becomes very dark, almost black. You can tell Gobies from Blennies by the number of dorsal fins - Gobies have 2 and Blennies have 1.

Where to find

Found all around our coasts where rocky outcrops are present.

Did you know?

The female rock goby lays up to 7,000 eggs in a single layer in a rocky crevice. These eggs are then defended by the male until they hatch.