Alternate Title

Two New Western Atlantic Species of the Gobiid Fish Genus Gobionellus, with Remarks on Characteristics of the Genus


Two new western Atlantic species of Gobionellus (family Gobiidae) are described and figured. G. comma, which is presently known only from the southern Caribbean Sea, off Venezuela, is characterized primarily by a dark, comma-shaped bar in the suborbital area. G. atripinnis, which has been found only in the western Gulf of Mexico, from southern Texas to Veracruz, Mexico, is most readily distinguished by an elongate black blotch in the male's spinous dorsal fin and in having 16 pectoral fin rays. G. comma is closely related to the eastern Pacific G. manglicola. The relationships of G. atripinnis are more obscure.

Important diagnostic characters of Gobionellus are presented, together with preliminary conclusions concerning the interrelationships of the genera Evorthodus and Oxyurichthys, which closely resemble Gobionellus in several important ways. Although groundwork is laid for possible synonymization of these genera (including discussion of nomenclatural problems), such action is deferred until more comprehensive studies are completed.

A total of 14 coarse-scaled species of Gobionellus are recognized. These are included in a taxonomic key, which also includes a geographic range statement for each species. Also included in the key are the two species of Evorthodus, which are frequently confused with the coarse-scaled Gobionellus. This key does not include the recently-described G. munizi Vergara 1978, specimens of which we have not had the opportunity to examine. Comments are included, however, regarding this species' validity and probable relationships, based on text of the original description and accompanying figures,