Glossogobius ankaranensis

Banister 1994

Glossogobius ankaranensis
Redrawn by Rhian Kendall from Banister (1994)


Historical note

The fish was first seen and collected by members of the 1986 Crocodile Caves of Ankarana expedition (Wilson 1995, 1996). Deposited in the collection of the Natural History Musen London, it was described by Keith Banister. The name derived from the aea of Madagascar in wich the species was found. (Information from Berti and Messana 2010).






Holotype: BMNH 1994.12.1:1 51mm SL. Paratype: BMNH 1994.12.1:2 48mm SL.


Type locality: River Cave 2 (=G14a), Canon Forestier, Ankarana, northern Madagascar (12o45’S,49o15’E). Also known from an unnamed location in northwestern Madagascar (Rham 1996, Fricke et al. 2018).


Some fishes were seen in the flowing cave river while others were in pools above the dry season river level. In September the water temperature was 21oC. The food supply probably consists of a mixture of stygobitic and non-stygobitic Crustacea, and insects, detritus etc., brought in with the river and by lemurs, bats (Noroalintseheno Lalarivoniaina et al. 2019) and birds (Wilson 1996).


Glossogobius giuris is a widespread species in the area and is similar in morphology (Banister 1994). Doha (1974) gives details of the biology of this species. Wilson (1996) records that Glossogobius callidus is found in River Cave 2.

Kuang et al. (2018) used molecular markers to study the internal structure of the Suborder Gobioidei which contains within it eleven Families. They demonstrated that Milyeringidae is sister Family to a group of four  Families: Oxudercidae+Gobiidae+Butidae+ Eleotridae and is only disttantly related to four others: Odontobutidae, Rhyacichthyidae, Apogonidae and Kurtidae (samples from Thalasseleotridae and Trichonotidae were not availabe for analysis).

Biological Notes

Reproduction in the species Glossogobius giuris was studied by Dinh et al. (2022).

Conservation Status

TLO [LC:3.1:2016]

(Sparks, J.S. 2016. Glossogobius ankaranensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: Downloaded on 06 July 2017). CR B1+2c (IUCN 1996, 2000), VU D2:3.1:2004. The range of this cave-dwelling species falls entirely within the boundaries of Ankarana National Park. Its habitat is not subject to anthropogenic degradation and powerful "fady" (taboo) protects it from direct exploitation by the local populous. It currently has no exotic predators or competitors. The species is rarely collected given its isolated habitat, so further information is lacking. Surveys in recent years (2008, 2011) indicate that populations are relatively stable (J. Sparks pers. obs.). It is therefore assessed as Least Concern but the population should be monitored.

This species, and its undescribed congener Glossogobius sp., is found in Ecoregion 67 (Madagascar northwestern basins) of Thieme et al. (2005). This is an area of savana and dry forest rivers which is globally outstading faunistically with a conservation status of endangered and of Priority Class 1 (Sparks 2005).

Museum Holdings

As above plus: AMNH 245679, 1 ex., Napolean Cave, 2 km from American campground, Ankarana National Park, northern Madagascar, Mad-25-2008, P. Chakrabarty and S.B. Holtz, 20 June 2008. AMNH 245680, 1 ex., data as for AMNH 245679. AMNH 245681, 1 ex., data as for AMNH 245679. AMNH 245682, 1ex., data as for AMNH 245679. AMNH 245683, 1 ex., data as for AMNH 245679. AMNH 245684, 1 ex., data as for AMNH 245679. AMNH uncat., 6 ex., cave within Ankarana karst formation, Ankarana National Park, northern Madagascar, Mad 11-13, J.S. Sparks, R.C. Schelly, Z.H. Baldwin, and C.B. Braun, June 2011. AMNH uncat., 5 ex., cave within Ankarana karst formation, Ankarana National Park, northern Madagascar, Mad 11-20, J.S. Sparks, R.C. Schelly, Z.H. Baldwin, and C.B. Braun, June 2011. AMNH uncat., 2 ex., large, deep subterranean pool within Ankarana karst formation, Ankarana National Park, northern Madagascar, Mad 11-21, J.S. Sparks, R.C. Schelly, Z.H. Baldwin, and C.B. Braun, June 2011 (details from Sparks and Chakrabarty 2012).


Internet Resources

Glossogobius circumspectus complete mitochondrial genome

Glossogobius olivaceus complete mitochondrial genome

Glossogobius giuris complete mitochondrial genome and source paper

Key References

Doha, S. Journal Article 1974 Investigation into the biology of the gobi (sic) Glossogobius giuris (Hamilton Buchanan) (Perciformes: Gobiidae)
Hoese, D.F. Journal Article 1983 Sensory papilla patterns of the cheek lateralis system in the gobiid fishes Acentrogobius and Glossogobius, and their significance for the classification of gobioid fishes
Wilson, J.M. Journal Article 1985 Ecology of the crocodile caves of Ankarana
Walters, R. Journal Article 1986 The crocodile caves of Ankarana 1986
Wilson, J.M. Journal Article 1987 The Crocodile caves of Ankarana, Madagascar
Wilson, J.M. Journal Article 1987 The crocodile caves of Ankarana: Expedition to northern Madagascar 1986
Wilson, J.M., Stewart, P.D. and Fowler, S.V. Journal Article 1988 Ankarana - a rediscovered nature reserve in northern Madagascar
Fowler, S.V., Chapman, P., Checkley, D., Hurd, S., McHale, M., Ramangasan, G.S., Randraimasy, J.E., Stewart, P., Walters, R. and Wilson, J.M. Journal Article 1989 Survey and management proposals for a tropical deciduous forest reserve at Ankarana in northern Madagascar
Reinthal, P.N. and Stiassny, M.L.J. Journal Article 1990 The freshwater fishes of Madagascar: A study of an endangered fauna with recommendations for a conservation strategy
Glaw, F. and Vences, M. Book 1994 A field guide to the amphibians and reptiles of Madagascar
Banister, K.E. Journal Article 1994 Glossogobius ankaranensis, a new species of blind cave goby from Madagascar (Pisces, Gobioidei, Gobiidae)
Wilson, J.M. Book 1995 Lemurs of the Lost World: Exploring the forests and crocodile caves of Madagascar
Wilson, J.M. Journal Article 1996 Conservation and ecology of a new blind fish Glossogobius ankaranensis from the Ankarana Caves, Madagascar
Rham P.H. de Conference Paper 1996 Poissons des eaux intérieures de Madagascar
Juberthie, C. and Decu, V. Book Section 2001 Madagascar
Benstead, J.P., DeRham, P.H., Gattolliat, J.-L., Gibbon, F.M., Loiselle, P.V., Sartori, M., Sparks, J.S. and Stiassny, M.L.J. Journal Article 2003 Conserving Madagascar's freshwater biodiversity.
Thieme, M.L., Abell, R., Stiassny, M.L.J.,Skelton, P., Lehner, B., Teugels, G., Dinerstein, E., Kamdem-Toham, A., Burgess, B., and Olson, D. Book 2005 Freshwater ecoregions of Africa and Madagascar. A conservation assessment
Sparks, J. Book Section 2005 Ecoregion 67. Madagascar northwestern basins
Cardiff, S.G., Ratrimomanarivo, F.H. and Goodman, S.M. Journal Article 2009 The effect of tourist visits on the behavior of Rousettus madagascariensis (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) in the caves of Ankarana, northern Madagascar
Sparks, J.S. and Chakrabarty, P. Journal Article 2012 Revision of the endemic Malagasy cavefish genus Typhleotris (Teleostei: Gobiiformes: Milyeringidae) with discussion of its phylogenetic placement and description of a new species
Laumanns, M. Journal Article 2017 Atlas of the great caves and the karst of Africa. Part 1. Introduction and Algeria to Madagascar
Wang, P., Zhao, C., Fan, S., Yan, L. and Qiu, L. Journal Article 2018 Characterization and phylogenetic analysis of the complete mitochondrial genome of Glossogobius giuris (Perciformes: Gobiidae).
Kuang, T., Tornabene, L., Lia, J., Jiang, J., Chakrabarty, P., Sparks, J.S., Naylor, G.J.P. and Lia, C. Journal Article 2018 Phylogenomic analysis on the exceptionally diverse fish clade Gobioidei (Actinopterygii: Gobiiformes) and data-filtering based on molecular clocklikeness
Fricke, R.,Mahafina, J.J., Behivoke, F., Jaonalison, H. Leopold, M. and Ponton, D. Journal Article 2018 Annotated checklist of the fishes of Madagascar, southwestern Indian Ocean, with 158 new records
Gilli, E. Book 2019 The Ankarana Plateau in Madagascar Tsingy, Caves, Volcanoes and Sapphires
Noroalintseheno Lalarivoniaina, O.S., Rajemison, F.I., Ramanantsalama, R.V., Andrianarimisa, S. and Goodman, S.M. Journal Article 2019 Population size and survival of the Malagasy fruit bat Rousettus madagascariensis (Pteropodidae) in Ankarana, northern Madagascar
Ghosh, S.K. Journal Article 2020 Histoanatomy and surface ultrastructure of the olfactory organ of the freshwater tank goby, Glossogobius giuris (Hamilton, 1822)
Ghosh, R., Ganguly, S., Bhattacharjee, P. and Pal, A. Journal Article 2021 Morphology and biology of freshwater Tank Goby, Glossogobius giuris (Hamilton, 1822) from Indian subcontinent: A review
Chakrabarty, P., Byrnes, M. and Sparks, J.S. Book Section 2022 Gobiidae: Glossogobius ankaranensis
Dinh, Q.M., Truong, N.T., Tran, N.S. and Nguyen, T.H.D. Journal Article 2022 Ovarian and spawning reference, size at first maturity and fecundity of Glossogobius giuris caught along Vietnamese Mekong Delta
Zarei, F., Esmaeili, H.R. and Ghanbarifardi, M. Journal Article 2023 Morphological and molecular characterization of the Makran Glossogobius cf. giuris (Teleostei: Gobiidae) and the Glossogobius giuris species complex taxonomy