Racer goby

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Racer goby
Racer goby from the Bug River 4.jpg
The Racer Goby from the Bug River, Poland
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Suborder: Gobioidei
Family: Gobiidae
Subfamily: Benthophilinae
Genus: Babka
Iljin, 1927
Species: B. gymnotrachelus
Binomial name
Babka gymnotrachelus
(Kessler, 1857)
Racer goby map.png
The range of the racer goby
  • Gobius gymnotrachelus Kessler, 1857
  • Mesogobius gymnotrachelus (Kessler, 1857)
  • Neogobius gymnotrachelus (Kessler, 1857)
  • Gobius macropus De Filippi, 1863
  • Gobius burmeisteri Kessler, 1877
  • Mesogobius gymnotrachelus otschakovinus Zubovich, 1925

Babka gymnotrachelus, the racer goby, is a species of goby native to fresh, sometimes brackish, waters, of the Black Sea basin.[2] It is a Ponto-Caspian relict species. The species is placed a monotypic genus, Babka, which was once considered a subgenus of genus Neogobius, but was then elevated to genus-status based on the molecular analysis.[3][4]


The head of the racer goby from the Dnieper River near Kiev

It has 7–8 dorsal spines, 14–18 dorsal soft rays, a single anal spine and 12–16 anal soft rays. This species is distinguished from its relatives in Neogobius based on multiple characteristics. B. gymnotrachelus has diagonal bars of irregular position and shape. The first branched ray of second dorsal is about as long as its penultimate ray. It lacks scales on the midline of its nape, anterior to its preoperculum. It has a pelvic-disc fraenum with small rounded lobes and length less than 1/6 of width at base. It has 54–62 + 2–3 scales in midlateral series. The posterior part of first dorsal has no black spot.



This goby inhabits the coasts of Turkey, the rivers of the Caucasus, including Inguri, Rioni and the rivers of Kolkhida, including Lake Paliastomi, Lake Suzha. In the north-western Black Sea it inhabits the Dnieper-Bug Estuary, Dniester Estuary, near the Tendra sandbar and Berezan Island. In the Danube River it is widespread up to Vidin, and lives in tributaries and lakes of Danube delta, including Brateş, Kahul, Yalpug, Katlabuh, Kitay, Razelm, etc. It inhabits the Dniester River and its tributaries, including Zbruch, Zhvanchik, Smotrych, Răut, Bîc, Dubăsari Reservoir. It is common in the Southern Bug River and in the Dnieper River as far as Kiev. It lives in the Kamchiya River and Lake Shablensko in Bulgaria. In the Sea of Azov it is in Taganrog Bay and the Don, Aksay, Seversky Donets rivers. It also inhabits the Caspian Sea, where it is represented by the subspecies Babka gymnotrachelus macrophthalmus.

The racer goby inhabits but is non-indigenous in the rivers of the Baltic basin, including the Bug and Vistula.[5][6][7] It was also introduced in the Middle Danube, in Hungary.[8] The westernmost locality of this species range is the German sector of the Danube River, where this fish occurred first in 2011.[9] The information about the introduction of this species to the Lower Rhine River[10] is considered erroneous.[9]


In the Dniester Estuary half of the racer goby's diet consists of fish. The rest is a mix of crustaceans (Corophiidae) (29.6%), molluscs (Dreissena, Adacna, Monodacna) (12,5%) and polychaete worms of the species Hypania invalida.[11] In the Dnieper River near Kiev the diet consists of molluscs Dreissena sp., amphipods and sewage worms Tubifex tubifex.


  1. ^ Freyhof, J. & Kottelat, M. 2008. Babka gymnotrachelus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 July 2013.
  2. ^ Smirnov A.I. (1986) Perch-likes (gobiids), scorpionfishes, flatfishes, clingfishes, anglerfishes [in:] Fauna of Ukraine, Vol. 8, No 5, Kiev: Naukova Dumka, 320 pp. (in Russian)
  3. ^ Stepien C.A., Tumeo M.A. (2006): Invasion genetics of Ponto-Caspian gobies in the Great Lakes: a "cryptic" species, absence of founder effects, and comparative risk analysis. Biological Invasions, 8: 61–78.[1]
  4. ^ Neilson M.E., Stepien C.A. (2009) Escape from the Ponto-Caspian: Evolution and biogeography of an endemic goby species flock (Benthophilinae: Gobiidae: Teleostei). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 52(1): 84-102. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.12.023
  5. ^ Danilkiewicz Z. (1996): Babka łysa (gołogłowa), Neogobius gymnotrachelus (Kessler, 1857) (Perciformes, Gobiidae) - nowy, gatunek w ichtiofaunie zlewiska Morza Bałtyckiego. Komunikaty Rybackie, 2: 27–29.
  6. ^ Kostrzewa J., Grabowski M., Zięba G. 2004. Nowe inwazyjne gatunki ryb w wodach Polski. Archives of Polish Fisheries 12 (suppl. 2): 21-34.
  7. ^ Jaroszewska, M.; Dabrowski, K.; Wilczyńska, B.; Kakareko, T. (2008). "Structure of the gut of the racer goby Neogobius gymnotrachelus (Kessler, 1857)". Journal of Fish Biology. 72 (7): 1773–1786. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2008.01870.x. 
  8. ^ Guti G. (2004) First record of Racer Goby Neogobius gymnotrachelus (Pallas, 1811) in the Hungarian section of the Danube. Opusc. Zool. Budapest, 35: 83-84.
  9. ^ a b Haertl, M., Cerwenka, A. F., Brandner, J., Borcherding, J., Geist, J. & Schliewen, U. K. (2012). "First record of Babka gymnotrachelus (Kessler, 1857) from Germany (Teleostei, Gobiidae, Benthophilinae)" (PDF). Spixiana. 35 (1): 155–159. 
  10. ^ Borcherding, J.; Gertzen, S.; Staas, S. (2011). "First record of Pontian racer goby, Babka gymnotrachelus (Gobiidae: Teleostei), in the River Rhine, Germany". Journal of Applied Ichthyology. 27 (6): 1399–1400. doi:10.1111/j.1439-0426.2011.01773.x. 
  11. ^ Strautman I.F. (1972) Pitaniye i pishchevyje vzaimootnoshenija bychkov (sem. Gobiidae) Dnestrovskogo limana. Vestnik Zoologii, 4: 35-38. (in Russian)

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