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Critter Corner: Bearded Goby

In early January we found a small colony of Bearded Gobies sharing them with guests throughout the season, talk about cute! Three varieties have been found so far, if you haven’t seen a bearded goby yet, your really missing out on something special .  These small coral dwelling gobys are very easily overlooked as most people swim right over them without ever knowing they exist.

Critter: Bearded Goby (Lubricogobius exiguous)
Color: Yellow-green, Brownish
Size: less than 3 centimeters / 1 inch and smaller
Habitat: Specific Acropora corals
Food Source: Carnivorous opportunity feeders
Photo Tip: 100/105 Macro lenses with + 10 diopters or better
Lighting tip: Single strobe directly over the lens port-lowered power

Cute is the first word that I can find that best describes these fuzzy little Goby’s. They make their homes in specific branching Acropora coral sharing each coral head with at least one other goby (male-female) and/or partner crabs.
The name comes from their fuzzy chin which actually resembles the small arms of the corals used to feed. Its speculated that the “Beard” is also used to trap food particles that drift through the coral heads on the moving current. These Gobys never leave the coral head to hunt and although they are considered to be carnivores, they rely solely on this passive method for feeding.
Like other Gobys, they are very timid and flighty and don’t play well with photographers. Finding the right coral head and setting up your shot is the only way to photograph. Waiting and timing are everything as you will soon find yourself pleading and praying, waiting for the goby to work its way into the frame or to stay in the frame. Please be cautious of the coral heads and try not to break or damage the fragile coral when shooting photos of the Gobys. 

 Mike Bartick
Crystal Blue-Photo Pro 

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All content of this article photos and script herein are owned and copyrighted by Mike Bartick-


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