A synopsis of coral and coral-rock associated gobies (Pisces: Gobiidae) from the Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea

Jürgen Herler and Helge Hilgers

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 103-132, Volume 10, Issue 3 – October 2005

Field investigations in the Gulf of Aqaba, northern Red Sea (Dahab, Sinai, Egypt) revealed 21 species in seven genera of gobiid fish associated with corals and/or coral rock. Three as yet undetermined species of Gobiodon (G. sp.1, 2 and 3) were found to be new for the Red Sea. Like the congeneric G. citrinus, G. histrio, G. reticulatus and G. rivulatus, they are obligate dwellers of Acropora corals. Among the other genera, Bryaninops yongei significantly differs from its congener B. ridens in live coloration as well as by its preference for Cirripathes sp., while the latter obligatorily inhabits Millepora dichotoma. A third species, B. natans, exhibits hyperbenthic behaviour, violet eyes and a yellow belly on the otherwise transparent body and is commonly associated with Acropora loripes and A. squarrosa. The five Eviota species examined were less specialized and associated with live corals of various growth forms and/or with coral rock. Paragobiodon echinocephalus showed very low occupation rates of the highly abundant Stylophora pistillata and was mostly found in small breeding pairs. Within the genus Pleurosicya, P. micheli is more slender than P. prognatha and shows a distinct longitudinal red internal stripe, while the latter is transparent with a few brown speckles in life. Pleurosicya micheli inhabits massive scleractinians, whereas P. prognatha is found in Acropora. Priolepis semidoliata was rare and associated with coral rock. Weak associations with scleractinians were also found in Trimma avidori, which was common but prefers steep or overhanging substrates mostly consisting of coral rock. Trimma mendelssohni prefers coral rock caves.

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