Green Clown Goby Facts: They Can Change Their Gender in Both Directions

The green clown goby is one of the most interesting fish in the ocean. Their behavior is a combination of that of eels, gobies, and clownfish. They like hiding in rock work, living in particular corals, and jumping on them. Moreover, they can change their gender. Let’s have a deeper look at some facts about the green coral goby to see how amazing they are!

Green clown goby
Scientific name: Gobiodon histrio
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gobiiformes
Genus: Gobiodon

1. The green clown goby is colorful

The green clown goby (Gobiodon histrio) is a member of the Goby family, which includes around 2000 species. This ray-finned fish is also called different names, such as the green coral goby, broad-barred goby, green warpaint clown goby, or acropora goby.

The green coral goby earns its name from its green body. This color might be blue based on the situation. Its fins have a light yellow or a transparent green coloration. The goby lacks scales on its body.

Its whole body is covered with different patterns like bars, stripes, and dots. Specifically, this green goby fish has vertical bars on the head, interrupted horizontal stripes on the body, and spots on the top rear part of the gill cover. Those markings come in red, orange, or violet colors.

A green clown goby in coral reef

The green clown goby is a tiny fish that measures only 1.1-2 in (3-5 cm). The spiny rays of the first, the second, and the anal fin are 7, 10, and 1, respectively.

The pectoral and caudal fins of this fish are circular. The fish’s ventral fin is fused with its sucker. It is placed on the surface to keep fish from being swept away by flowing water. It has conical teeth, which is impressive for such a little creature.

The term “Gobiodon” in the fish’s name is derived from the Greek words gobius and odus. Gobius is the name given to gobies by the Romans, while odus meaning tooth in Greek. This is due to the fact that their teeth are rather spectacular in comparison to their size.

The term “histrio,” which means actor and dancer in Latin, relates to the fish’s dazzling coloring and the way it moves.

2. Natural habitat

The Indo-Pacific tropical waters are home to the green clown goby. It lives in the Red Sea, as well as the Andaman Islands, New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia, southern Japan, and Thailand. It approaches Samoa in the east and the Great Barrier Reef and Tonga in the south.

Green coral gobies are found amid the branches of hard corals, depending on them for protection, food, and a breeding location. It inhabits shallow seas, in madreporic formations up to 15 meters deep.

3. They are toxic

Despite its small size, the green clown goby is toxic. The green clown goby, despite its small size, is toxic. This fish secretes a poison that keeps predators at bay.

When agitated, it releases chemicals that prevent other fish from moving. If the toxin is concentrated enough, it can drive the predator to lose balance and turn over.

To increase their toxicity, these gobies feed on the alga that attacks Acropora nasuta coral species. We’ll talk about this in the next part.

Green clown gobies are friendly fish that may coexist in an aquarium with different species. It may, however, be aggressive toward them.

4. They have a symbiotic relationship with corals

The green coral goby has a symbiotic relationship with corals, just like the clown fish has a mutualistic relationship with sea anemones. In an aquarium, however, these green fish can coexist with both soft and hard corals.

The Acropora nasuta coral species is where the goby finds refuge, food, and a location to spawn. In exchange, the fish protect the corals from predators and other dangers.

The goby is eating the green toxic seaweed to protect the coral

When the Acropora corals are destroyed by Chlorodesmis fastigiata, a toxic seaweed, the corals release the chemicals to alert the gobies, much like a 911 call.

The gobies can detect the chemicals and respond to the signal immediately. After 5 minutes, the gobies were at the spot, eating the seaweed that had attacked the coral.

In 3 days, the gobies eliminated 30% of the seaweed and the corals reduced their damage up to 70 to 80%.



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5. Diet

The main diet of green clown gobies includes zooplankton, amphipods, copepods, etc. In captivity, they can consume live, dried, or frozen cyclops, Mysis shrimp, bloodworms chopped seafood, and brine shrimp. You must feed these fish once or twice a day if you maintain them in an aquarium.

The green clownfish larvae are small and require adequately sized food. They’ll eat table shrimp, copepods, Mysis shrimp, rotifers, and brine shrimp.

6. They can change sex in either direction

The broad-barred goby is a hermaphrodite fish that can change sexes. However, unlike clownfish (change from males to females) or Kobudai (change from females to males), these green fish can change their gender in both ways.

This means any green clownfish can change from males to females and vice versa, which is uncommon in other gobies.

When a pair of green gobies, no matter the sex they have, takes over a new coral patch, they can spawn. To mate with the other, one of them transforms into the opposing sex. Due to this bidirectional sex change, any green clownfish can reproduce with any other single adult it meets, lowering the risk of looking for a new companion.

The green goby is one of many fish that can change their gender. Some of them are:

With this feature, it is one of the less threatened fish species in the ocean, despite the instability of the coral reefs due to global warming. Its vulnerability level is 10 out of 100. The green coral fish can double its population in less than 15 months.

7. Reproduction

This species spawns pretty frequently. Males alter colors and acquire an enlarged dorsal fin during reproduction. Its mating ritual will start with an unusual dance of males in front of females in order to entice them.

Females release their clutch of about 500 eggs on corals. These eggs are immediately fertilized and protected by males. The size of the eggs is small, measuring around 0.03 in (1 mm). After 4 – 5 days, the eggs hatch.

The green clown goby’s lifespan in captivity is up to 5 years, but most live for 1 – 3 years.

8. They’re popular aquarium fish

This green fish is a popular aquarium saltwater fish. It is calm and sturdy, with a strong personality. They are also non-aggressive sea species.

They are simple to care for and feed. You’ll need at least a 30-gallon tank with water temperatures ranging from 22 to 28°C. As the name implies, the coral goby spends much of its time in or on corals. So, you should put corals in the tank. The fish consume frozen and live foods, along with flakes and granules.

If you want to know details about how to take care of the green coral goby, you can see here.

It is not advisable to keep them in groups because they can fight, especially males. It is, however, feasible to keep them alone or in pairs.

You can easily have a broad-barred goby at a pet shop or buy it online. Its price will range from $20 – $50.



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