Signal gobies: masters of illusion

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If you’ve spent any time around Indonesia’s seafloor, you might well have seen one of these little guys – the signal, or twinspot, goby. The scientific name is Signigobius biocellatus, which looks like a mouthful but break it down and it becomes an easier, and obvious, name for this fish: “signus” meaning “mark”, “gobius” referring to the genus of fish, “bi” meaning “two” and “ocellatus”, which refers to the small eye spots.

Signal gobies are sand sifters, and they filter sand through their mouths, eating small invertebrates and expelling the cleaned sand through their gills. They’re pretty small fish – they grow to about 6.5cm – but when their dorsal fins are erect they give the impression of being much larger, and the extra set of “eyes” helps to ward off predators.

This photograph was taken in Raja Ampat by Chris Hamilton, Dunia Baru’s cruise director. Interested in getting into underwater photography? Then click here to read some very valuable advice.

 

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