Godzilla goby: A new frilly-finned deep-water goby

Varicus lacerta, live photo by Barry Brown.

Last month, we reported nine new goby species discovered – using manned submersibles – in deep-water Caribbean reefs.  Varicus lacerta marks number ten, and it’s the most unique of the newly described gobies.  Its fins have a frilly, feather-like appearance, which is rarely seen in gobies or any saltwater fish for that matter.

The species is described from the only known specimen ever collected … at an astonishing depth of 129–143 meters (almost 500 feet down)!   Below is the awesome footage of the submersible Curasub collecting the specimen. After application of Quinaldine (a fish anesthetic), the tiny goby emerges from underneath a yellow sponge.


The goby measures less than 40mm long (~1.5 inches).  It’s given common name, Godzilla Goby, refers to its lizard-like appearance and obviously not its size.  “Lacerta” is latin for “lizard.”

Varicus lacerta is described in ZooKeys.

Follow Us!