The New International Encyclopædia/Goby

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GOBY (from Lat. gobio, gobius, gudgeon, from Gk. κωβιός, kobios, gudgeon). A spiny-rayed fish of the family Gobeidæ, whose ventral fins are completely united into a disk more or less capable of being used as a sucker, enabling the fish to cling to rocks and so resist the power of waves and currents. They have no air-bladder. The true gobies are generally small fishes, some of them inhabiting the shallow bays of the coast, and others deeper water; the species are very numerous, and belong to both hemispheres. One species (of Russia) inhabits fresh water alone. The gobies are very interesting, on account of their habits, and are of the number of nest-building fishes, employing seaweeds and eel-grass for this purpose in spring. When the female has deposited her eggs in the nest, the male watches over them till they are hatched. In Europe, consequently, these fishes are much in request for aquaria, of which they are among the most interesting occupants. A British species (Gobius minutus), which ascends rivers, chooses a cockleshell for its home in some tidal pool. “The shell being placed on the sand with its concave surface downward, the sand beneath it is hollowed out and cemented by a special mucilaginous secretion from the skin; a cylindrical tunnel gives access to the nest, and the whole structure is covered over with loose sand.” The female having glued her eggs to the shell, the male guards them for six to nine days, until they hatch. Another European goby (Latrunculus pellucidus), which is nearly transparent, is remarkable for being perhaps the most short-lived of all vertebrates, being born in midsummer, maturing during the following winter, and spawning and dying upon the approach of summer, so that none live more than a year. Small species of several genera inhabit the coast and estuaries of the Southern United States and of California. See Mudfish.