Rock goby

Rock goby

Scientific name: Gobius paganellus
This little fish is found in rockpools during the summer months and has a clever adaptation that stops it being swept away by strong waves - their pelvic fins are fused to form a sucker that it uses to cling onto rocks.

Species information


Length: up to 12cm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The rock goby is a small, elongated fish with a large head and big eyes. It is found on rocky seabeds in shallow seas and is also commonly spotted in rockpools during the summer months. It is well camouflaged against its rocky home with brown mottled markings along its eel-like body. They feed on small prawns, crabs and worms. There are many different kinds of Goby found in UK seas, but the rock goby is the one most commonly spotted in a rockpool. Gobies can be identified by their 2 dorsal fins.

How to identify

There are several similar species of Goby in UK seas which can be difficult to tell apart. The rock goby is usually pale to dark brown with mottled markings and dark bands along its body. In breeding season, the male becomes very dark, almost black. You can tell Gobies from Blennies by the number of dorsal fins - Gobies have 2 and Blennies have 1.


Found all around our coasts where rocky outcrops are present.

Did you know?

The female rock goby lays up to 7,000 eggs in a single layer in a rocky crevice. These eggs are then defended by the male until they hatch.

How people can help

When rockpooling, be careful to leave everything as you found it - replace any seaweed you move out of the way, put back any crabs or fish and ensure not to scrape anything off its rocky home. If you want to learn more about our rockpool life, Wildlife Trusts around the UK run rockpool safaris and offer Shoresearch training - teaching you to survey your local rocky shore. The data collected is then used to protect our coasts and seas through better management or through the designation of Marine Protected Areas. The Wildlife Trusts are working with sea users, scientists, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust or checking out our Action Pages.