By Elise Watling
The little citron coral goby or lemon coral goby has to be one of my favourite fish. Why? Check him out. He's cute, tiny, bright yellow with white Adam Ant stripes down his face. Yes, he is an eighties retro fish!
The little chap actually belongs to the Gobiodon genus of the Gobiidae family, which is THE largest family in the marine world and with over 200 genera of them you can see why! The citron coral goby is the smaller of the species and only grows to a length of 4cm in comparison with some of his other family members reaching over 50cm!
He has two dorsal fins and is often found lurking with others of his kind in the acropora table corals that are readily found here in Ras Mohammed. The rest of his clan tend to be found burrowing in the sand but not this one. He stands loud and retro-proud on the table corals! They give off a noxious body slime so not many other fish will play ball with them and they tend to stick to their own kind. Those that don't seem to mind, though are small damsels and juvenile hawkfish that will share the same acropora.
This goby feeds mainly on zooplankton, small crustaceans and algae. And if that fails they'll eat the Acropora coral or skeleton that he inhabits.
In small groups they readily form pairs and mate. The genus are hermaphrodites (meaning they have both male and female organs) with females turning into males. The female deposits circular bands around a branch of host coral that are immediately fertilized and subsequently guarded by the male. Alas, because of the goby's small size, they have a lot of problems fending off larger predators when rearing their young.