Arrow Goby      Clevelandia ios


This tiny, three inch fish is interesting in a variety of ways. For example while scientific names often tell a lot about the animal or plant, in this case only partly so. First of all "Clevelandia" doesn't mean that this fish lives in Cleveland. In fact it is a common inhabitant of marine and estuarine sheltered beaches throughout the west coast. Instead the name recognizes a former president (not of the U.S.A, but of the San Diego Society of Natural History). However the species name, "ios" (the greek word for "arrow"), is reflective of it's long, skinny appearance.


Another interesting item is that the arrow goby can tolerate a wide range of temperature and salinity conditions and so it mainly lives in the intertidal zone. So how does it live there when the tide goes out? By seeking refuge in the water -filled burrows of both mud or ghost shrimp. When the tide is in they will also seek refuge in the burrows when frightened.

Even with such a unique hiding spot, these small fish find their way into many different types of bellies such as those of terns, kingfishers and great blue herons, staghorn sculpins, whitespot greenlings and rockfish.

The adults are busy during high tide rummaging around eating a variety of items such as diatoms, small green algae, small crustaceans and eggs and young of ghost or mud shrimp. Biologists have seen them place food, that is to large for them to swallow, in front of crabs and wait for scraps to come their way.

Reproduction occurs in spring with non-floating eggs widely distributed over the surface of the beach. The eggs hatch in 10 to 12 days producing larvae that drift with the plankton while eating floating eggs, copepods and barnacle larvae.