The tadpole-gobies[1] (Benthophilus), also called pugolovkas (which means "tadpole" in Ukrainian), are a genus of Ponto-Caspian fishes in the family Gobiidae.

Tadpole goby
Benthophilus nudus.jpg
Black Sea tadpole-goby (Benthophilus nudus)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gobiiformes
Family: Gobiidae
Genus: Benthophilus
Eichwald, 1831
Type species
Gobius macrocephalus
Pallas, 1788

They are distributed in the fresh and brackish waters of basins of the Black Sea, Caspian Sea and the Sea of Azov, up to salinities of about 20 ‰. They typically live in habitats such as the deep waters of the Caspian (salinity about 13 ‰) and in the deltas, estuaries and coastal waters of the Ponto-Caspian.[1]

Tadpole-gobies are small fish, never larger than 15 cm, and usually smaller. Their life span is about one year. After spawning they die.[1]


There are currently 20 recognized species in this genus:[2][1]


  1. ^ a b c d Boldyrev V.S., Bogutskaya N.G. (2007) Revision of the tadpole-gobies of the genus Benthophilus (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters, 18(1): 31-96.[First page]
  2. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2013). Species of Benthophilus in FishBase. April 2013 version.