Skip to Content

Eli’s Fish Facts – Naked Goby

(photo courtesy of: / Robert Bachand)


Gobiosoma bosc

Naked gobies are the smallest fish that live in the Hudson River, rarely growing past 2.5 inches long. They live in the sediment of estuaries, often in marshes or other shallow areas like oyster reefs and grass beds. They’re solitary critters, though after the females lay their eggs (often in empty oyster or clam shells), the males will aggressively defend them until they hatch.

Naked gobies are called that because they don’t have any scales! They also have a uniquely elongated body, with two eyes close together nearly at the top of their heads. Their pelvic fins are fused together which creates a suction that they use to cling to the shells and rocks in their shallow habitats. They eat small invertebrates like worms and amphipods, and are eaten by quite a few larger fish and crustaceans in the river. Naked gobies, like several other estuarine species, become sluggish in the winter, reducing their swimming and feeding to preserve energy for spring. They generally live up to 4 years in the wild.

CURB catches about a dozen naked gobies every year, though they can be tricky to find in our seine net because they’re so small.