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Round Goby

Photo by Center for Great Lakes and Aquatic Sciences Archive, University of Michigan,

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Common Name: Round goby
Scientific Name: Neogobius melanostomus
Origin: Eurasia


The round goby is a small, soft-bodied fish with a distinctive black spot on its first dorsal fin. It has large, protruding eyes and its body ranges from 4-10″ in length. While juveniles are grey, adult round gobies have grey, black, brown and olive green markings.


Round gobies inhabit both fresh and saltwater habitats. They are a bottom dwelling species, preferring sandy or rocky shelves with low silting. They have spread throughout the Great Lakes, as well as the interior of the United States.


The round goby is an aggressive fish that outcompetes natives for food, shelter and nesting sites. They prey heavily on eggs, including those of many popular sport fish. They consume large amounts of invasive mussels, which contain toxins, posing the risk of bioaccumulation further up the food chain. They can survive in degraded ecosystems and serve as a host to many parasites.


While native predatory fish have begun to prey on round gobies, their populations still reach high numbers as a result of their rapid reproduction. Management includes the use of fish pesticides, physical barriers, and bioacoustic and pheromone traps.

Regional Distribution


WNY PRISM Priority

Tier 4 – Local Control

Invasive Species Priorities – Tier Chart


Round goby were introduced to New York through ship ballast water discharge.


The round goby is a prohibited species in New York State – for more information on Prohibited and Regulated Species, visit