The clingfish (Gobiesocidea) are a numerous family with 33 genera with over 100 species.  The clingfish have a large ventral sucking disk formed by the ventral fins.

The clingfish are difficult to identify in part because of their small size. The Spade-nose clingfish and the Spiny clingfish  are found when hand netting in shallow seagrass. The Grass clingfish was found in 2-3 meters of water.

Spade Nose Clingfish - photo taken in Ceduna Robert Browne

Spade-nose clingfish (Cochleoceps spatulata; Gunther 1861) is reasonably common and widely distributed in Posidonia seagrass in coastal areas of South Australia and S.W. Western Australia. Cochleoceps spatulata can vary in color from green to quite dark depending on the age and condition of the Posidonia.

 Two figured (above) specimens are from Marion Bay, South Australia, and the other from Ceduna, South Australia.
Spiny clingfish (genus A species 1; Gomon et al. 1994 p 308) is found from South Australia to S.W. Western Australia. Common in sheltered seagrass including mixed Posidonia and Amphibolus.  The figured specimens were from Ceduna, South Australia. The Spiny clingfish grows to about 3.5 cm.Spiny clingfish

Grass clingfish (probably (genus C species 1; Gomon et al. 1994 p 310) has been previously recorded from the Bass Straight and S.W. Western Australia.  Seagrass and adjacent reefs (Gomon et al. 1994).  However, the figured specimens were photographed at Normanville, Gulf St Vincent, South Australia (David Muirhead pers. com.).

Dave Muirhead “Many shots contain at least 2 grass clingfish (prob. genus C species 1) for example the image featuring a spotted pipefish as main subject also contains 2 clingfish and gives a good size perspective.”


ClingfishClingfish with a widebody pipefish



Gomon, M., Glover, C. and Kuiter, R. (eds.) (1994) The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide, South Australia. 992p

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