The Banded Reef Goby (Priolepis cincta) is also known as the Banded Goby, Girdled Goby and the Convict Goby . These are fairly common fish in Tanzania, but unless one looks for them one is unlikely to see them.
The Banded Reef Goby has an elongated cylindrical body shape with two dorsal fins typical of the gobies, the body is a light yellow green color with stripes that vary in shade from off white to a light purple color. The fins are transparent and the eye is black. They grow up to 7 cm in length.
BANDED REEF GOBY IN THE WILD
The Banded Reef Goby is fairly common in Tanzanian coastal waters but one has to look for them to see them. They are almost always found in the back of small caves and one has to put some light in these caves and then look for them. They are often upside down on the roof of the caves. Usually they are solitary but fairly often one will spot two in close proximity to each other. They usually freeze when one puts a light in the cave and unless one makes a fast movement they will sit in the same spot.
The Banded Reef Goby is found across the Indo west Pacific area from South and East Africa up to the Red Sea and across to southern Japan and then south to the Great Barrier Reef. They are mainly seen in small caves and seem more common from 20 meters downwards, reportedly to 70 meters, but we have seen them to at least 35 meters. They can be difficult to spot and the specimen in the image below is roughly just to the right of the middle facing the camera.
Banded Reef Goby feed on small crustaceans that live in the corals. Not a lot seems known about exactly which crustaceans they prefer.
The reproductive habits of the Banded Reef Goby have been studied and the research done can be found here. They appear to pair off into monogamous pairs. The male approaches the female and circles her attempting to lead her back to a spot inside the cave presumably cleaned beforehand. Once she follows him the eggs are laid in the spawning spot. The spawning process was noted to take up to one hour. After the eggs were fertilized the male cleaned them regularly and guarded them for three to four days until they hatched.
The study further noted that the species was hermaphroditic and all specimens that were examined simultaneously had both ovarian and testicular tissue. The mating system and gonadal structure he species led the researchers to conclude that the likelihood of both-directional sex changes was high.
Banded Reef Goby are kept in aquariums but are not that common probably due to their shy nature. Small caves and overhangs are a must for this species. They require feeding several times a day. They were first captive bred by Ora in 2014 but due to the difficulty and time consuming nature of the task they are not regularly bred for the market.
BANDED REEF GOBY CLASSIFICATION
Species: P. cincta