Giant goby

Gobius cobitis


This large goby is a very rare find in Britain because the giant gobies found here are on the northern edge of their natural distribution. They cannot breed in the colder waters further north, as they are really a southern European fish. Perhaps changes in seawater temperature as a result of climate change will see the gobies moving further north.

Gobies are small, familiar rock pool fish, but this one really is a giant – up to 27 cm long. Giant gobies live in rock pools high up on sheltered shores and seem to prefer brackish seawater, which is not fully salty. They can withstand the large temperature changes experienced in the rock pool environment, and may even be seen ‘basking’ in the sun on exposed rocks within the pool.

They have a broad diet, including green seaweed, worms, shrimp-like animals, small fishes, and insects. They are quite long-lived, with a lifespan of ten years. Females can lay up to 12,000 eggs at a time, which are guarded by the attentive male.

Although there is no evidence that giant gobies are endangered in the UK, it seems likely that they are vulnerable to human disturbance from visitors to the seashore.


European distribution

In the UK, the giant goby is known only from the coasts of south-west England between Wembury and the Isles of Scilly, and in the Channel Islands. Outside of the UK, it is found from the western English Channel to Morocco, in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Giant Goby Fact


Conservation status/need

Protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981


Further information


Marine Life Information Network

Marine Species Identification Portal

World Register of Marine Species