Benthophilus stellatus (Sauvage, 1874)
Stellate tadpole-goby
Benthophilus stellatus
photo by Otel, V.

 Family:  Gobiidae (Gobies), subfamily: Gobiinae
 Max. size:  13.5 cm TL (male/unsexed); 11 cm TL (female)
 Environment:  demersal
 Distribution:  Europe: Black Sea, Sea of Azov and Caspian rivers and estuaries.
 Diagnosis:  This species is distinguished from its congeners by the following characters: a tubercle between eyes; sparse granules on flanks, backward only to below D2 base, rare between upper lateral and dorsal rows of tubercles; head width 94-104 % HL; tubercles in dorsal row 27-30, ventral row 22-25, upper lateral row 10-16 (slightly smaller posteriorly), lower lateral row with few tiny tubercles or absent; chin barbel slightly compressed, thick, about equal in length with eye diameter; origin of D2 in front of anal origin; transverse rows of neuromasts on flank 19-23; no spot in front of D2; sides with dark blotches and irregular dots; a blotch around base of first dorsal usually reaching origin of D2 (Ref. 59043); head and body covered with spinulose bony platelets; rounded caudal fins and ventral suckers (Ref. 92840).
 Biology:  Inhabits shallow coastal lagoons and lowland rivers in freshwater and brackish water with salinity below 12 ppt. Adults occur in muddy reaches of rivers; in brackish water, more than 3 m deep (Ref. 4696, 59043). This species spawns after first winter, May-June and females die shortly after spawning while with males, some weeks after. Feeds on mollusks, crustaceans, insect larvae and small fishes (Ref. 4696, 59043). Eggs are pear-shaped (Ref. 4696).
 IUCN Red List Status:   (Ref. 96402)
 Threat to humans:  harmless
 Country info:   

 Entered by: Sa-a, Pascualita - 16.01.96
 Modified by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 18.06.10
 Checked by: Casal, Christine Marie V. - 14.01.03

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