Crystal goby, one or more species?

Crystal goby is today classified as one species. There are, however, some indications that there might be two or even three species.

The Crystal goby (Crystallogobius linearis) is one of Norway’s smallest fishes, and very little research is done on this tiny goby. Dr. Ulrich Schliewen working at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology Department of Ichtyology in Munich, believe that he has indications that there are several species of Crystallogobius. As an example, studies at the dentition and jaw osteology shows large differences in gobies from the Mediterranean Sea and along the Norwegian coast.

The Crystal goby is annual, and it goes through large morphological changes during its life span. Especially does the male goby develop abnormal large teeth when it enters the spawning period.

In the first phase of the project, we will collect gobies from the Stavanger area every month for one year to look at the development of the teeth. The collected fishes will be sent to Germany where there will be done micro scans of the fishes together with DNA samples of the gobies. This work is a part of a PhD grade in Munich.

There will also be done field work to look for spawning Crystallogobius or gobies guarding their eggs since very little is known about the Crystal gobies reproduction. It is however assumed that it spawns in siphons from burrowing molluscs.

There is also a plan to build a habitat for Crystallogobius an aquarium to study their behaviour.

Heading photo

3D micro scan of a Crystal goby from Stavanger. The image is taken of the gobies’ head from the front, and shows the specimens very large teeth. Photos: Teresa Westermeier and Alex F. Cerwenka