Zosterisessor ophiocephalus Pallas, 1811

Zosterisessor ophiocephalus image

Synonyms: Gobius ophiocephalus Pallas, 1811; Gobius reticulatus Eichwald, 1831; Gobius lota Valenciennes, 1838; Gobius cephalarges (non Pall.) Antipa, 1909; Zostericola ophiocephalus Iljin, 1927.



Common names: Engl: Grass goby; Bulg: Cherno popche; Rom: Guvid de iarba; Russ: Bychok-travyanik; Turk: Saz kayasi; Ukr: Zelenchak.

Taxonomic descriptions: D VI, I 13-16; A I 12-16; P 17-20. Scales in lateral series 56-58; Vertebrae 27-29 (Gheorgiev, 1966). Head depth 0.97-1.05 than width. Eye diameter 0.15-0.25 head length. Upper lip uniformly wide. Pelvic disc 0.19-0.23 SL. Anterior membrane without lateral lobes. Suborbital papillae with 7 transverse rows. Colour: greenish - grey to brown - olive with numerous irregular brownish vertical bands down sides. Size: to 24cm.

Zosterisessor ophiocephalus arealIUCN Status:
    World level:
    Black Sea Regional level:
    Subregion level: CR

Distribution: Mediterranean, Black Sea and Sea of Azov. In Bulgaria: inshore; Lakes Burgas and Varna.

Habitats type, Critical habitats, Limiting factors: Inshore, brackish water of estuaries and lagoons, between sea-grass; inshore with sea-grass; chemical substances.

Biology: Reproduction: April-July. Eggs on grass. Sexually mature at 2 or 3 years. Food: larger crustaceans and small fishes (Miller, 1986).

Population trends: Declining.

Threats: Industrial pollution.

Conservation measures taken: None.

Conservation measures proposed: Reduce contamination.


  1. Gheorgiev, J. 1966. Composition d’espece et caracteristique des Gobiides (Pisces) en Bulgarie. - Proc. Res. Inst. Fish., Oceanogr. Varna, VII: 159-228.
  2. Miller, P. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean, v. 3: 1085.

Compiled by: Y. Sivkov, K. Prodanov