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Author: Pallas, 1811

Gobius cobitis Pallas, 1811

Diagnosis: Iateral line system with sub-orbital row d continuous, row x1 ending anteriorly behind pore b, and pore a behind eye on course of oculoscapular canal. Nape scaled, cheek naked. Anterior nostril with long tentacle, often digitate. Pectoral free rays well developed. Pelvic disc short, rounded, anterior membrane with lateral lobes. Dl VI; D2 I + 13 (13-14); A I + 11 (10-12); P 20-21 (19-22). Scales in lateral series 59-67. Colour: brownish-olive 'pepper-and-salt' speckling, with dark mottling and blotches along and below lateral midline, the latter more distinct in juveniles; breeding males dark, with median fins edged white. Size: to 27 cm.

Habitat: rocky and weedy pools and shallows to about 10 m; under Atlantic tidal conditions, in pools at upper levels of sheltered shores, sometimes in brackish water. Food: green algae (Enteromorpha), crustaceans (amphipods, crabs), polychaetes, insects. Reproduction: March to May (Naples), May early July (Varna, Black Sea); repeat spawning (several times). Eggs 3.6-5.45 x 1.23-1.54 mm, under stones. Sexually mature at 2-3 years. Lifespan: to 10 years.

Distribution: eastern Atlantic, from western English Channel to Morocco; Mediterranean and Black Sea (except north-west). Gulf of Suez (lessepsian migrant).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Raffaele, 1898: 330 | Holt, 1899: 43 | Lo Bianco, 1909: 717 | Sparta, 1950: 1, fig. 1-11 | Padoa, 1953: 669, pl. XLI (fig. 8) | Oppenheimer, 1954: 1.
Otoliths (sagitta). Bauzá-Rullán, 1962: pl. V, 48-50.

Note. Possible hybrid with Gobius paganellus (Pinchuk & Strautman, 1977).

Giant boy (Gobius cobitis)