Couch's goby

Gobius couchi

Couch's goby (Gobius couchi) © Lin Baldock

The small, rare Couch’s goby grows up to 9 cm long.  It is found on the lower shore and in shallow water, under stones or seaweed on sheltered, muddy sand, where it feeds on seaweed, shrimp-like animals, bivalves and worms. 

Females also use the undersides of rocks or shells as a surface on which to attach their eggs. These are then protected by the male until the larvae hatch.

Couch’s gobies can be confused with black gobies, although the former are much smaller.  They have short, flattened tails and the stiff, supporting top-rays of its pectoral (side) fins are separate, rather than webbed.

Couch's goby is very rare and is a protected species. We think it is only found in south Cornwall and Ireland.


European distribution

This species has only been recorded from four locations in the British Isles and in Ireland.  Little is known about its European distribution, although there have been isolated records from the western Mediterranean and, more recently, in the Adriatic Sea suggesting that its distribution may be wider.


Couch's Goby Fact

Conservation status/need

Protected under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981


Further information

Biological Traits Information Catalogue


Marine Life Information Network

Marine Species Identification Portal

World Register of Marine Species