Pomatoschistus minutus (Pallas)
- Family: Gobies – Gobiidae
- Similar species: black goby, common goby, two-spotted goby
- Size: 4–5 cm, max. 6–7 cm.
- Appearance: Like other gobies, the pelvic and anal fins of the little sand goby form one fin. The first dorsal fin has six rather soft spines. The scales are very small and number 58–72 along the lateral line. Clear gap between first and second dorsal fins.
- Colouring: Overall a light sandy brown colour with dark brown spots and reticulation on the back. It has a black mark in front of the tail, though not transverse or anchor-shaped like the common goby, or edged with white like the two-spotted goby. At breeding time the male turns darker and its fins take on a brighter colour.
- Reproduction: Spawns in summer. The male prepares a nest under a shell on a sandy bottom. If necessary, he can turn the shell convex side up. In the absence of a suitable shell this inventive little fish will use bits of debris found on the sea bed: tops from bottles and jars or broken pottery. The female deposits her eggs on the underside of the nest.
- Food: Small bottom-living organisms, particularly amphipods.
- Distribution and habitat: Common around the Åland Islands. Also found in the Gulf of Finland and occasionally in the Gulf of Bothnia as far north as the island of Hailuoto, making it the most northerly of Finland’s gobies. Spends the summer on sandy bottoms in shallow water, though somewhat deeper than that preferred by the common goby, which it closely resembles. The sand goby lies motionless on the bottom waiting for its prey, which it spots with its acute vision.
Though common around Finland’s coasts, the little sand goby is seldom seen as it is rarely caught in traps and nets. Under water its clever camouflage makes it difficult to spot.