Neogobius fluviatilis (Pallas, 1814)

Common Name: Monkey goby

Synonyms and Other Names:

babka goby, Monkey goby, Sand goby, River goby, Gobius fluviatilis, Apllinia fluviatilis, Neogobius fluviatilis fluviatilis, Gobius sordidus, Gobius steveni, Gobius fluviatilis nigra




Yuriy Kvach (commons.wikimedia.org)Copyright Info


Yuriy Kvach (commons.wikimedia.org)Copyright Info

Identification: Neogobius fluviatilis can be distinguished from other gobiids by its second dorsal fin, which uniformly lowers down from the first to last rays (Kottelat  and Freyhof 2007, Pinchuk et al. 2003). The first branched ray of the second dorsal fin is about twice as long as the penultimate ray. The pelvic disc is enlongated with poorly visible lobes at the edges of the membrane. In addition, there is no black spot in the posterior part of the first dorsal fin.


Size: 5.80-15.60 cm total length.


Native Range: Ponto-Caspian basin and Marmara Region of Turkey (Sasi and Berber 2010).

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Neogobius fluviatilis is found in the Yantra River, Bulgaria (Vassilev et al. 2008). This species occurs in the Rhine River in Germany (Borcherding et al. 2013). Neogobius fluviatilis was caught in Lake Balaton in 1970 (Biró 1971), and was also documented in Sió Channel, Tisza River, and Bodrog River in Hungary (Ahnelt et al. 1998). In 2009, Neogobius fluviatilis was recorded in the Waal, Rijn, and Boven Merwede rivers in the Dutch Rhine, and the Meuse River in Netherlands (Van Kessel et al. 2009, Van Kessel et al. 2011). This species was introduced to Polish inland waters during the mid-1990s and has spread to the southern Baltic Sea (Lejk et al. 2013) and occurs in the Vistula basin, Poland (Tockner et al. 2009). It has been introduced in Serbia in 1977 (Lenhardt et al. 2010). It was documented in the Danube River in Slovakia (Jurajda et al. 2005). Neogobius fluviatilis was introduced to parts of the Aral Sea in the mid-1950s and currently occurs there (Plotnikov et al. 2012).


Ecology: Neogobius fluviatilis mainly appears in littoral zones of lakes and river in Hungary (Keresztessy 1996).  Neogobius fluviatilis has not been shown to have specific habitat preferences in laboratory experiments (Van Kessel et al. 2011). In the Danube River in Slovakia, Neogobius fluviatilis were predominantly found in stretches with gravel or rocky substrates (Jurajda et al. 2005). Neogobius fluviatilis is found in the Dutch Rhine at a water depth of 5 m and at water temperatures of 5-7°C (Van Kessel et al. 2009). This species is found in Manyas Lake, Turkey, which has water temperatures of 8.80-32.40°C and dissolved oxygen levels of 6.10-10.90 mg/L (Sasi and Berber 2010). This species is able to survive in highly variable salinity gradients ranging from 0-7 ppt (Lejk et al. 2013). Neogobius fluviatilis occurs in the Aral Sea, a brackish water body that has an average salinity of 10 ppt (Plotnikov et al. 2012). In the early 1970s, this species had successfully established in Lake Balaton, which experienced eutrophication in the 1960s.

Its diet consists of macroinvertebrates, crustaceans, annelids, gastropods, and fishes, and is dominated by chironomid larvae (Grabowska et al. 2009). Neogobius fluviatilis reaches sexual maturity in their second year of life (Plachá et al. 2010). This species exhibits a high level of parental care. Depending on the size of the female, fecundity ranges from 300-2000 mature oocytes (Pinchuk et al. 2003).


Means of Introduction: Neogobius fluviatilis has a moderate probability of introduction to the Great Lakes (Confidence level: High).

Potential pathway(s) of introduction: Transoceanic shipping (ballast water)

Neogobius fluviatilis is predicted to be introduced to the Great Lakes via ballast water (Holeck et al. 2004, Kolar and Lodge 2002, Ricciardi and Rasmussen 1998). Neogobius fluviatilis is euryhaline and can tolerate a broad range of temperature, so it may be able to survive ballast tank environments. It has been found in waters with temperatures of 0-32.40°C (Biró 1997, Sasi and Berber 2010), and salinities between 0-10 ppt (Lejk et al. 2013, Plotnikov et al. 2012). This species occurs in waters from which shipping traffic to the Great Lakes originates (NBIC), including the Baltic Sea (Lejk et al. 2013). Neogobius fluviatilis occurs in the River Vistula catchment, which is part of the Baltic Sea basin (Copp et al. 2005). Neogobius fluviatilis may be introduced to the Great Lakes via ships declaring “No Ballast on Board” (NOBOB), which are exempt from ballast water exchange. Holeck et al. (2004) specifically states this introduction will be through BOB water or NOBOB residual water. The majority of ships entering the Great Lakes are NOBOB vessels and 43% of these ships contain residual water with less than 10‰ salinity (NOAA Final Report 2005). In the study, the temperature of the residual water from the vessels sampled ranged from -0.7 to 23.9°C; thus Neogobius fluviatilis is likely to survive the salinity and temperature of the NOBOB ballast water. 

Neogobius fluviatilis does not occur near waters connected to the Great Lakes basin. This species is not known to adhere to any surfaces or be transported by other organisms. Neogobius fluviatilis is not stocked, cultured, or sold in the Great Lakes region.


Status: Not established in North America, including the Great Lakes

Neogobius fluviatilis has a high probability of establishment if introduced to the Great Lakes (Confidence level: High).

The native and introduced ranges of Neogobius fluviatilis have similar climatic and abiotic conditions as the Great Lakes (Grigorovich et al. 2003, Reid and Orlova 2002, US EPA 2008). Neogobius fluviatilis has not been shown to have specific habitat preferences in laboratory experiments (Van Kessel et al. 2011). In the experiments, this species was frequently observed choosing a variety of habitat types including shelter, vegetation, large gravel, sand, and mixtures of gravel and sand. In the Danube River in Slovakia, Neogobius fluviatilis were predominantly found in stretches with gravel or rocky substrates (Jurajda et al. 2005). Genetic Algorithm for Rule-Set Production (GARP) model predicts that shallower waters of the Great Lakes provide suitable habitats for Neogobius fluviatilis, including parts of Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario (US EPA 2008). Neogobius fluviatilis has a broad temperature tolerance; it inhabits waters that freeze in the winter (Biró 1997), as well as waters with temperatures up to 32.40°C (Sasi and Berber 2010). Neogobius fluviatilis can tolerate fresh to brackish waters with salinities of 0-10 ppt (Lejk et al. 2013, Plotnikov et al. 2012). Neogobius fluviatilis occurs in waters that have ice cover in the winter, such as Lake Balaton (Biró 1997), so it is likely to be capable of overwintering in the Great Lakes. Lake Balaton’s water quality was impacted by eutrophication in the 1960s, yet this species was able to establish there in the early 1970s; thus nutrient levels of the Great Lakes will not likely affect the establishment of Neogobius fluviatilis. Due to its tolerance of a wide range of water temperatures and salinity, the effects of climate change in the Great Lakes may not affect the establishment of Neogobius fluviatilis.

This species has a diverse diet of macroinvertebrates, crustaceans, gastropods, and fish (Grabowska et al. 2009); thus it is likely to find an appropriate food source in the Great Lakes basin. In laboratory experiments investigating habitat competition between native and invasive species, Neogobius fluviatilis did not significantly alter the habitat use of the native species Cottus perifretum or Barbatula barbatula (Van Kessel et al. 2011). Depending on the size of the female, fecundity ranges from 300-2000 mature oocytes (Pinchuk et al. 2003). Neogobius gymnotrachelus has a fecundity of 361-2236 eggs (Grabowska 2005), which is greater than the fecundity of N. fluviatilis. Newly established populations of Neogobius fluviatilis may allocate more resources to reproduction, and live longer than N. fluviatilis populations in their native range (Plachá et al. 2010). It exhibits parental care and has an extended spawning period, which may contribute to reproductive success.

Kolar and Lodge (2002) predict that Neogobius fluviatilis will spread quickly if introduced to the Great Lakes. In the last 3 decades of the 20th century, this species was among 4 Ponto-Caspian gobies that expanded their range up the Volga River (Copp et al. 2005). This species is capable of upstream migration, and has expanded its range from the Djerdap Gorge in Serbia to the middle sections of the Danube River in Slovakia (Jurajda et al. 2005). The invasion history of Neogobius fluviatilis is characterized by range expansions occurring Eastern towards Western Europe. Within 7 years, it spread 836 km downstream from the Bug River to the mouth of the Vistula River (Kostrzewa and Grabowski 2002). After its introduction to the Aral Sea in the mid-1950s, Neogobius fluviatilis naturalized and its abundance grew quickly (Plotnikov et al. 2012). By the mid-1960s, Neogobius fluviatilis as well as other undesirable introduced goby species coincided with a significant reduction in the abundance of benthic invertebrates (Markova et al. 1972, Plotnikov et al. 2012, Yablonskaya et al. 1973); however, it is unknown if Neogobius fluviatilis was responsible for the decline of benthic invertebrates.


Great Lakes Impacts: Neogobius fluviatilis has the potential for moderate environmental impact if introduced to the Great Lakes.

Neogobius fluviatilis is known to be the carrier of some species of parasites, and, it had the greatest parasite diversity and the lowest parasite abundance compared to 2 other non-native goby species found in the Danube River (Ondracková et al. 2005). None of the parasites were brought to the Danube by the introduction of Neogobius fishes; rather, they were common in the Danube. The parasite loads in Neogobius fluviatilis in the Danube River were similar to the parasite loads in their native range. Parasites of Neogobius fluviatilis in the Danube River include trematoda Nicolla skrjabini (Iwanitzky, 1928), Metagonimus yokogawai (Katsurada, 1912), Apatemon cobitidis (Linstow, 1980), Pomphorhynchus laevis (Müller, 1776), Raphidascaris acus (Bloch, 1779), ciliophora Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (Fouquet, 1876), Eimeria daviesae (Molnár 2000), and Goussia kessleri (Molnár 2000) (Molnár 2006). Specimens of Neogobius fluviatilis in the Vistula River were infected with the metacercariae of Bucephalus polymorphus, a parasite that also infects zebra mussels (Kvach and Mierzejewska 2011). The effects of the parasites infecting Neogobius fluviatilis on zebra mussels have not been reported.

Where introduced, Neogobius fluviatilis may potentially impact native fish populations. A marked decline in tubenose goby in the Danube River was attributed to the rapid expansion of round goby and monkey goby populations in 2004 (Molnár 2006). Experiments investigating habitat competition between non-native and native fish of the Rhine and Meuse rivers did not find that native fish Cottus perifretum or Barbatula barbatula changed their selection of habitat type when they co-occurred with Neogobius fluviatilis. These experiments suggest that Neogobius fluviatilis does not compete with native benthic fish for habitat, but its competitive behavior may change during spawning season (Van Kessel et al. 2011).

Neogobius fluviatilis makes up a substantial proportion of the diets of piscivorous fish such as Sander lucioperca and S. volgensis in Lake Balaton (Specziár 2011). The effects of non-native prey on the diets of S. lucioperca and S. volgensis or on predator-prey relationships has not been explored. The expansion of Neogobius fluviatilis as well as other undesirable introduced goby species coincided with a significant reduction in the abundance of benthic invertebrates (Markova et al. 1972, Plotnikov et al. 2012, Yablonskaya et al. 1973); however, it is unknown if Neogobius fluviatilis was responsible for the decline of benthic invertebrates.

There is little or no evidence to support that Neogobius fluviatlis has the potential for significant socio-economic impacts if introduced to the Great Lakes.

It has not been reported that Neogobius fluviatilis poses a threat to human health or water quality. There is no evidence that this species negatively impacts infrastructure, economic sectors, recreational activities and associated tourism, or the aesthetic appeal of the areas it inhabits.

Neogobius fluviatilis has the potential for moderate beneficial impact if introduced to the Great Lakes.

In Turkey, Neogobius fluviatilis is important to minor commercial fisheries, aquarium, and bait (Sasi and Berber 2010). They may serve as a source of food for economically important fish species such as pike-perch Stizostedion lucioperca (Lenhardt et al. 2010).


Management: Regulations (pertaining to the Great Lakes region)

There are no known regulations for this species.*

*Ballast water regulations applicable to this species are currently in place to prevent the introduction of nonindigenous species to the Great Lakes via shipping. See Title 33: Code of Federal Regulations, Part 151, Subparts C and D (33 CFR 151 C) for the most recent federal ballast water regulations applying to the Great Lakes and Hudson River.

Note: Check federal, state/provincial, and local regulations for the most up-to-date information.

Control

Biological
There are no known biological control methods for this species.

Physical
There are no known physical control methods for this species. Kolar and Lodge (2002) recommend avoid transporting bottom dwelling monkey gobies in ballast water by drawing ballast water from the upper regions of the water column or treating ballast water during periods of peak larval goby abundance.

Chemical
There are no known chemical control methods specific to this species. General piscicides (such as rotenone) may be used for control, but expect significant kill of non-target species.

Note: Check state/provincial and local regulations for the most up-to-date information regarding permits for control methods. Follow all label instructions.


References:

Ahnelt, H., P. Banarescu, R. Spolwind, A. Harka, and H. Waidbacher. 1998. Occurrence and distribution of three gobiid species (Pisces: Gobiidae) in the middle and upper Danube region – example of different dispersal patterns? Biológia (Bratislava) 53: 661-674.

Biró, P. 1971. Neogobius fluviatilis in Lake Balaton – a Ponto-Caspian goby new to the fauna of Central Europe. Journal of Fish Biology 4: 249-255.

Biró, P. 1997. Temporal variation in Lake Balaton and its fish populations. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 6: 196-216.

Borcherding, J., M. Dolina, L. Heermann, P. Knutzen, S. Krüger, S. Matern, R. Van Treeck, S. Gertzen. 2013. Feeding and niche differentiation in three invasive gobies in the Lower Rhine, Germany. Limnologica 43: 49-58.

Copp, G.H., P.G. Bianco, N.G. Bogutskaya, T. Erös, I. Falka, M.T. Ferreira, M.G. Fox, J. Freyhof, R.E. Gozlan, J. Grabowska, V. Kovác, R. Moreno-Amich, A.M. Naseka, M. Penás, M. Povž, M. Przybylski, M. Robillard, I.C. Russell, S. Stakenas, S. Šumer, A. Vila-Gispert, and C. Wiesner. 2005. To be, or not to be, a non-native freshwater fish? Journal of Applied Ichthyology 21: 242-262.

Grabowska, J. 2005. Reproductive biology of racer goby Neogobius gymnotrachelus in the Wloclawski Reservoir (Vistula River, Poland). Journal of Applied Ichthyology 21: 296-299.

Grabowska, J., M. Grabowski, and A. Kostecka. 2009. Diet and feeding habits of monkey goby (Neogobius fluviatilis) in a newly invaded area. Biological Invasions 11(9): 2161-2170.

Grigorovich, I.A., R.I. Colautti, E.L. Mills, K. Holeck, A.G. Ballert, and H.J. MacIsaac. 2003. Ballast-mediated animal introductions in the Laurentian Great Lakes: retrospective and prospective analyses. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 69: 740-756.

Holeck, K.T, E.L. Mills, H.J. MacIsaac, M.R. Dochoda, R.I. Colautti, and A. Ricciardi. 2004. Bridging troubled waters: biological invasions, transoceanic shipping, and the Laurentian Great Lakes. BioScience 54(10): 919-929.

Jurajda, P., J. Cerny, M. Polacik, Z. Valová, M. Janác, R. Blažek, and M. Ondracková. 2005. The recent distribution and abundance of non-native Neogobius fishes in the Slovak section of the River Danube. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 21: 319-323.

Keresztessy, K. 1996. Threatened freshwater fish of Hungary. In Conservation of Endangered Freshwater Fish in Europe, A. Kirchhofer and D. Hefti (eds.). Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel, Switzerland, pp. 73-78.

Kolar, C.S., and D.M. Lodge. 2002. Ecological predictions and risk assessment for alien fishes in North America. Science 298: 1233-1236.

Kottelat, M., and J. Freyhof. 2007. Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes. Kottelat, Cornol, Switzerland, 646 pp.

Kostrzewa J., and M. Grabowski. 2002. Babka szczupla, Neogobius fluviatilis (Pallas, 1811), w Wisle – fenomen inwazji pontokaspijskich Gobiidae [Monkey goby, Neogobius fluviatilis (Pallas, 1811), in the Vistula River – a phenomenon of Ponto-Caspian Gobiidae invasion]. Przegl. Zool. 46: 235-242. (in Polish with English summary)

Kvach, Y., and K. Mierzejewska. 2011. Non-indigenous benthic fishes as new hosts for Bucephalus polymorphus Baer, 1827 (Digenea: Bucephalidae) in the Vistula River basin, Poland. Knowledge and Management of Aquatic Ecosystems 400(2): 1-5. 

Lejk, A.M., M. Zdanowicz, M.R. Sapota, and I. Psuty. 2013. The settlement of Neogobius fluviatilis (Pallas, 1814) in Vistula River estuaries (southern Baltic Sea, Poland. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 29(5): 1154-1157.

Lenhardt, M., G. Markovic, A. Hegedis, S. Maletin, M. Cirkovic, and Z. Markovic. 2010. Non-native translocated fish species in Serbia and their impact on native ichthyofauna. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 21(3): 407-421.

Markova, E.L. 1972. Results of acclimizations into the Aral Sea during period from 1963 until 1971. In. Akklimatizatsiya ryb I besposvonochnykh v vodoemah SSR: Tezisy dokladov, Sept. 1972. Ilim, Frunze, pp. 56-58. (in Russian).

National Ballast Information Clearinghouse (NBIC) 2009. NBIC Online Database. Electronic publication, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center & United States Coast Guard. Available from http://invasions.si.edu/nbic/search.html; 22 June 2014.

NOAA Final Report 2005. Assessment of transoceanic NOBOB Vessels and low-salinity ballast water as vectors for non-indigenous species introductions to the Great Lakes. 04 June 2014. http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/Task_rpts/2001/nobob_a_final_report.pdf
Ondracková, M., M. Dávidová, M. Pecinková, R. Blažek, M. Gelnar, Z. Valová, J. Cerny, and P. Jurajda. 2005. Metazoan parasites of Neogobius fishes in the Slovak section of the River Danube. Journal of Applied Ichthyology 21: 345-349.

Plachá, M., M. Balážová, V. Kovác, and S. Katina. 2010. Age and growth of non-native monkey goby Neogobius fluviatilis (Teleostei, Gobiidae) in the River Ipel’, Slovakia. Folia Zool. 59(4): 332-340.

Pinchuk, V.I., E.D. Vasil’eva, V.P. Vasil’ev, and P. Miller. 2003. Neogobius fluviatilis (Pallas, 1814). In: The freshwater fishes of Europe. Vol. 8(1). Mugilidae, Atherinidae, Atherinopsidae, Blenniidae, Odontobutidae, Gobiiddae 1. Wiebelsheim. Aula-Verlag, 404 pp.

Plotnikov, I. S., N.V. Aladin, D. Keyser, and Z.K. Ermakhanov. 2012. Transformation of aquatic animal biodiversity in the Aral Sea. It is not dying, but transforming in accordance with water availability and its salinity. In: Towards a Sustainable Society in Central Asia: An Historical Perspective on the Future, p. 1-26.

Reid, D.F. and M.I. Orlova. 2002. Geological and evolutionary underpinnings for the success of Ponto-Caspian species invasions in the Baltic Sea and North American Great Lakes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci.59: 1144-1158.

Ricciardi, A., and J.B. Rasmussen. 1998. Predicting the identity and impact of future biological invaders: a priority for aquatic resource management. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 55: 1759-1765.

Sasi, H., and S. Berber. 2010. Some biological characteristics of monkey goby in Anatolia. Asian Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances 5(3): 229-233.

Tockner, K., U. Uehlinger, and C.T. Robinson. 2009. Academic Press, 728 pp.

U.S. EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). 2008. Predicting future introductions of nonindigenous species to the Great Lakes. National Center for Environmental Assessment, Washington, DC; EPA/600/R-08/066F. Available from the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA, and http://www.epa.gov/ncea.

Van Kessel, N., M.Dorenbosch, and F. Spikmans. 2009. First record of Pontian monkey goby, Neogobius fluviatilis (Pallas, 1814), in the Dutch Rhine. Aquatic Invasions 4(2): 421-424.

Van Kessel, N., M. Dorenbosch, M.R.M. De Boer, R.S.E.W. Leuven, and G. Van der Velde. 2011. Competition for shelter between four invasive gobiids and two native benthic fish species. Current Zoology 57(6): 844-851.

Vassilev, M.V., T.A. Trichova, D. Ureche, I. Stoica, K. Battes, and M.T. Zivkov. 2008. Distribution of gobiid species (Gobiidae, Pisces) in the Yantra River (Danube Basin, Bulgaria). Proceedings of the Anniversary Scientific Conference of Ecology: 163-172.

Yablonskaya, E.A., T.A. Kortunova, and G.B. Gavrilov. 1973. Long-term changes in the Aral Sea benthos. Proc. VNIRO 80(3): 147-158 (in Russian).


Author: Baker, E., J. Dombroski, G. Nunez, and J. Li.


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Revision Date: 2/3/2015


Citation for this information:
Baker, E., J. Dombroski, G. Nunez, and J. Li., 2019, Neogobius fluviatilis (Pallas, 1814): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/greatlakes/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=42&Potential=Y&Type=2&HUCNumber=, Revision Date: 2/3/2015, Access Date: 2/20/2019

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.