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Gobies: Gobioidei

Marble Sleeper (oxyeleotris Marmorata): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Marble sleepers are the largest gobies, reaching a length of about 35 inches (90 centimeters). These gobies have a streamlined body, a flat head, two dorsal fins, and a rounded tail fin. The body is brown with dark blotches.

Geographic range: Marble sleepers live in Southeast Asia. They have been introduced into Taiwan for fish farming.

Habitat: Marble sleepers live in rivers, lakes, swamps, ditches, and ponds over muddy, sandy, or gravel bottoms. These fish also may be found in water with a low salt content around the mouths of rivers and canals.

Diet: Marble sleepers eat small fishes and invertebrates.

The marble sleeper is a highly prized food fish in Southeast Asia, where it is also raised in ponds. (Illustration by Amanda Humphrey. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Marble sleepers live alone and are active at night, prowling slow-moving streams, lakes, and swamps. During the day these fish rest at the bottom, taking cover among rocks and plants. Marble sleepers are able to reproduce when they are about 4 inches (10 centimeters) long. The males care for the eggs and guard the newly hatched young. The larvae drift freely at first but become bottom dwellers about twenty-five to thirty days after hatching.

Marble sleepers and people: Marble sleeper is a highly prized food fish in Southeast Asia, where it is also raised in ponds.

Conservation status: Marble sleepers are not threatened or endangered. ∎



Ferrari, Andrea, and Antonella Ferrari. Reef Life. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2002.

Gilbert, Carter Rowell, and James D. Williams. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Fishes: North America. New York: Knopf, 2002.

Web sites:

Lee, H.J., and Jeffrey B. Graham. "Their Game Is Mud." Natural History. http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/0902/0902_feature.html (accessed on November 1, 2004).

"Stout Infantfish: Schindleria brevipinguis, Watson & Walker, 2004." Australian Museum Fish Site. http://www.amonline.net.au/fishes/fishfacts/fish/sbrevip.htm (accessed on November 1, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesGobies: Gobioidei - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Fire Goby (nemateleotris Magnifica): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, GOBIES AND PEOPLE