The Giant goby (Gobius cobitis) is a coastal fish in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea includes. It is the largest goby found in the British Isles, although there it has only been recorded in Cornwall and the Channel Islands.
The Giant goby, which grow to 25 cm in length, is greyish to olive brown with 'pepper and salt' markings. These are especially notable in smaller specimens. in the breeding season the male is darker than the female. The body is covered in small scales, and the tail stalk is short. The eyes are small.
It is found in the Littoral zone, among rocks, weeds and rockpools, usually in brackish water.
It feeds on green algae (Enteromorpha), crustaceans (amphipods, crabs), polychaetes and insects.
The giant goby inhabits rock pools high up in the intertidal zone of sheltered shores. Occupied pools typically contain boulders under which giant gobies can take shelter, and have inputs of freshwater, so the water in the pools is usually brackish.
In the UK, the giant goby is known only from the coasts of south-west England between Wembury and the Isles of Scilly. Outside of the UK it is found from the western English Channel to Morocco, in the Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Gulf of Suez, more than likely via the Suez Canal.
In 1992, giant gobies were absent from one site in south Devon and one from south Cornwall, which are parts of the historic range. It was assumed that the species was in decline, but the species was recorded again in the south Cornwall site in 1998. Although there is no evidence that the species is endangered in the UK, it seems likely that it is vulnerable to human disturbance due to the recreational pressures on the shore habitat.
In 1998 the species was added to Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Under this Act it is an offence to kill, injure, take or sell giant gobies, or to damage or destroy any structure or place used by a giant goby for shelter or protection. Furthermore, it is included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme.