The tubenose goby (Proterorhinus semilunaris)† is a bottom-dwelling fish from the rivers and estuaries of Eurasia, including tributaries of the Black and Caspian Seas. Both the tubenose and the closely-related round gobies were first detected in the St. Clair River of the Great Lakes region in 1990. While the population growth of the round goby quickly escalated, the tubenose goby, smaller and less aggressive, has experienced a limited range expansion. As a result, the tubenose has caused minimal impacts in the Great Lakes in comparison with the round goby.
The tubenose goby prefers shallow-water habitats with abundant vegetation within the range of slightly brackish to fresh water. Male tubenose gobies guard their nesting sites defending the eggs and young. Females spawn multiple times during the warmer months of the year and as a result are rather prolific. The species can live up to five years; however, the males die after spawning. Tubenose gobies generally feed on aquatic insects and other benthic invertebrates, but also have been known to consume the larvae and fry of other fish. Their diet overlaps with that of rainbow darters and northern madtoms, and, thus, the tubenose may compete with these species for resources. Unlike round gobies, tubenose gobies do not feed on zebra mussels.
Photo credit: David Jude, University of Michigan SNRE, Center for Great Lake and Aquatic Sciences
Round and Tubenose Goby Parasites (2009) University of Toledo This study analyzed the parasites of two exotic Eurasian gobies established in the Great Lakes since 1990: the round goby, Apollonia melanostoma and the tubenose goby, Proterorhinus semilunaris.
Tubenose Goby Phylogeny (2007) University of Toledo This study conducted an analysis of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences and morphological characters from exotic Great Lakes as well as introduced and native Eurasian population sites of Proterorhinus marmoratus (Pallas). This broad scale study was the first comprehensive examination of the species’ characters across its range.