Leucopsarion petersii

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Leucopsarion petersii
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Gobiidae
Genus: Leucopsarion
Hilgendorf, 1880
Species: L. petersii
Binomial name
Leucopsarion petersii
Hilgendorf, 1880

Leucopsarion petersii is a species of fish in the goby family, Gobiidae, and the only member of the monotypic genus Leucopsarion. It is native to the northwestern Pacific Ocean, where it occurs in China, Japan, and Korea.[1] Its English language common name is ice goby, and in Japanese it is known as shiro-uo.[2] In Japan, where it is a delicacy, it is also called shirauo no odorigui ("dancing icefish").[3]

This goby has a thin, elongated, "eel-like" body up to 13 centimeters in length.[3] It exhibits neoteny, retaining a larval form even when a sexually mature adult. It lacks scales and has a swim bladder and a small pelvic fin; most gobies develop scales, lose their swim bladders, and grow longer pelvic fins as they mature into adulthood.[4] The body of L. petersii is transparent,[5] and the eggs may be visible through the body wall.[3]

There are two lineages of this species, the Sea of Japan and Pacific Ocean lineages. They are related to the paths of the Kuroshio Current and its Sea of Japan branch, the Tsushima Current. Where they are sympatric, the lineages interbreed. Individuals of the Sea of Japan lineage are generally larger and have more vertebrae.[6]

This goby feeds on marine plankton, including algae, when it lives in the ocean. It is anadromous, entering freshwater habitats such as rivers, where it spawns. It does not feed during this time, and it dies directly afterwards.[3]

The ice goby is a valued food fish in South Korea and Japan, where it commands high prices. It is usually eaten raw, and often alive.[3]


  1. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Leucopsarion petersii" in FishBase. June 2013 version.
  2. ^ Arakawa, T., et al. (1999). Stages of embryonic development of the ice goby (shiro-uo), Leucopsarion petersii. Zoological Science 16(5), 761-73.
  3. ^ a b c d e Hooper, R. Ice goby. The Japan Times July 9, 2008.
  4. ^ Harada, Y., et al. (2003). Response of a neotenic goby, ice goby (Leucopsarion petersii), to thyroid hormone and thiourea treatments. Zoological Science, 20(7), 877-82.
  5. ^ Harada, Y., et al. (2003). Thyroid gland development in a neotenic goby (ice goby, Leucopsarion petersii) and a common goby (ukigori, Gymnogobius urotaenia) during early life stages. Zoological Science 20(7), 883-88.
  6. ^ Kokita, T. and K. Nohara. (2011). Phylogeography and historical demography of the anadromous fish Leucopsarion petersii in relation to geological history and oceanography around the Japanese Archipelago. Molecular Ecology 20(1), 143-64.

External links[edit]

Media related to Leucopsarion petersii at Wikimedia Commons