• Neogobius gymnotrachelus;
  • secretory oesogaster;
  • stomachless fish

The morphological and histological features of the gut of juvenile racer goby Neogobius gymnotrachelus [range of body mass 0·2–0·9 g and standard length (LS) 20·0–38·8 mm] were examined in fish collected from the Włocławek Reservoir on the Vistula River, Poland. Evidence is provided of the stomachless nature of the gut of the racer goby. The intestine of the juveniles lacks the intestinal bulb. A particular feature of the racer goby gut is the secretory oesogaster (the transitional region where the secretory oesophagus merges into the intestine) with multicellular alveolar glands that secrete via a common duct to the surface between the mucosal folds. The cells in the secretory oesogaster alveolar glands are periodic-acid-Schiff (PAS) positive indicating the presence of neutral mucopolysaccharides. It is hypothesized that the secretory oesogaster is evidence of the loss of the functional stomach in this species. There are two sphincters: the oesogaster–intestinal and the intestinal–rectal in the racer goby gut. It can be concluded that the oesogaster–intestinal sphincter is functionally related to the gastro-intestinal sphincter described in many fish species having a stomach. Enterocytes with a distinct brush border and only a few goblet cells are observed in the epithelium along the whole intestine. The existence of vacuoles in the supranuclear region of the rectal enterocytes is also confirmed.