Animal Species:Red Eel Goby, Caragobius rubristriatus (Saville-Kent, 1889)

The Red Eel Goby is a slender, elongate fish that is bright pink in life.  It is usually found in muddy areas, often estuaries.

Red Eel Goby accidentally caught on hook and line

Red Eel Goby accidentally caught on hook and line
Photographer: Trevor Robb © Trevor Robb

Standard Common Name

Red Eel Goby


The Red Eel Goby is a very elongate species with long based dorsal and anal fins. It has a large oblique mouth and rudimentary eyes.

The live colouration of this species is vivid pink. Saville-Kent’s (1889) original description of the species stated that the fish was rosy pink in life with a carmine longitudinal stripe and smaller carmine streaks branching from the longitudinal stripe that delineated the outlines of the myotomes. Its fins were yellowish.

Fish in the genus Caragobius can be separated from other gobies by several osteological characters. Other useful features that can be used to distinguish Caragobius are the rounded pectoral and pelvic fins, the dorsoventral symmetry, rudimentary eyes, slightly depressed head, and lack of opercular pouches and fang-like teeth.

Size range

The Red Eel Goby grows to at least 10 cm in length.

Similar Species

There are two species in the genus Caragobius. The second is C. urolepis, which is not known from Australian waters. It occurs in India, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and Fiji.


The species is endemic to Australia, occurring from north-western Western Australia to the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Caragobius rubristriatus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Red Eel Goby specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?


It is a bottom-dwelling species that is found in muddy estuarine areas often around mangroves.



What does this mean?


  1. Murdy, E.O. & K. Shibukawa. 2003. A revision of the Indo-Pacific fish genus Caragobius (Gobiidae: Amblyopinae). Zootaxa. 301: 1-12.

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Tags fishes, ichthyology, Caragobius rubristriatus, Red Eel Goby, red, pink, eel-like, < 10 cm, no pattern, soft substrate, marine, adult,


Mark McGrouther - 2.07 PM, 06 July 2009
Hi Lindsay, I just heard back from the expert (thank you Ed!). Your fish is in fact a Comb Goby, Paratrypauchen microcephalus. The species is known from the Indo-west Pacific region.
Mark McGrouther - 9.07 AM, 06 July 2009
Hi Lindsay, Thank you for submitting the image. You did well to take a photo. Did you catch the fish and photograph it in an aquarium? I'm not convinced, however, that it is a Red Eel Goby. The tail of your fish is not pointed like that of the REG. I'll ask the expert to have a look at your image and tell me what he thinks. I'll get back to you soon. Thank you again.
Lindsay Smith - 9.07 PM, 03 July 2009
Red eel goby in the Abel Point Marina, Airlie Beach, Queensland. Approx midday 3rd July 2009.

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