Yellow Coral Goby (species: Gobiodon okinawae) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Gobiodon okinawae
Yellow Coral Goby

©Phil Munday: Gobiodon okinawae from Lizard Island (aquarium photo)

©Catheline Froelich: Juvenile Gobiodon okinawae near Osprey Islet, Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Gobiodon okinawae at Clam Garden, Lizard Island.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Gobiidae
Genus Gobiodon
Species Gobiodon okinawae



Distinguishing features

Adults are bright yellow and may have a pinkish cheek and a whitish streak along the upper side.

Juveniles can be almost as large but look quite different: translucent with a whitish head and vertebral column and with two dark red-brown streaks on sides, one above and one below centre and numerous spots on head and tail.

Marty Hing noted (May 2020) that this juvenile colour pattern is also found in Gobiodon acicularis and G. ceramensis and that (supposed) adults of G. heterospilos and G. spilophthalmus are also similar. He suspects that the latter two names are based on juveniles of other species.


  • Up to 6.6 cm (length according to Allen and Erdmann (2012).)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa

  • Animalia: species: Gobiodon heterospilos
    looks very similar to juveniles of G. okinawae. Adults of G. heterospilus are not known from the Lizard Island area - records of that name are likely misidentifications.


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Allen and M.V. Erdmann, G.R. (2012). Reef fishes of the East Indies. Volumes I-III in: Reef fishes of the East Indies. Tropical Reef Research, Perth, Australia. LIRS catalog number 90162.

Other references

  • Hing, M.L., O.S. Klanten, M. Dowton, K.R. Brown and M.Y.L. Wong (2018). Repeated cyclone events reveal potential causes of sociality in coral-dwelling Gobiodon fishes. PLoS ONE, 13(9): e0202407. LIRS catalog number 2204.
  • Hing, M.L., O.S. Klanten, M.Y.L. Wong and M. Dowton (2019). Drivers of sociality in Gobiodon fishes: an assessment of phylogeny, ecology and life-history. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 137: 263-273. LIRS catalog number 2308.
  • View all references