Round Goby - (Neogobius melanostomus)
Length: 4 to 10 inches (250 mm)
Coloring: grey with blotches of black and brown over their bodies, dorsal
fin may be tinged with green, the front dorsal fin has a distinctive large
Common Names: Round goby, goby
Found in Lakes: Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Superior
Although gobies belong to a family of fish with a worldwide distribution
in both salt and fresh water, they had not been found in the Great Lakes
prior to 1990. The round goby first turned up in Lake Superior's Duluth/Superior
harbor area in 1995. Presumably, the fish arrived in ballast water discharged
by trans-oceanic ships.
It can be difficult to distinguish between round gobies and sculpins,
but the goby's fused pelvic fin is the best way to tell them apart.
Also native to the Black and Caspian seas region, its cousin, the tubenose
goby, appeared for the first time in the St. Clair River in 1990; however,
this species--which is endangered in its native habitat--has remained
uncommon in the Great Lakes.
Gobies also are capable of rapid population growth. They spawn repeatedly
during the summer months, and each time, a female can produce up to 5,000
eggs. The males die after spawning.
In Europe, the diet of round gobies consists primarily of bivalves (clams
and mussels) and large invertebrates, but they also eat fish eggs, small
fish and insect larvae. In the United States, studies have revealed that
the diet of round gobies includes insect larvae and zebra mussels.
Local laws vary regarding the possession of round
gobies. Take a look at your state or province regulations, and contact
your local authorities if you need more information.
copyright 2001 University
of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute