Goatfish are benthic feeders.  Using a pair of barbels (“whiskers”), they sift through the sediment for food (worms, crustaceans, mollusks, and other invertebrates).  Many are nocturnal feeders.  All goatfish have the ability to change their coloration depending on their current activity.  Goatfish are pelagic spawners (broadcast).

Click on the arrow symbol under each fish for more information.

Mulloidichthys flavolineatus, Yellowstripe Goatfish
    • Max length 43 cm, common length 25 cm
    • Black grey to olive, sides and belly whitish, 1-2 longitudinal yellow bands, dark blotch below 1st dorsal fin
    • Has yellow mid-lateral stripe from eye to tail and some yellow striping on cheek and along abdomen
    • Occasionally schooling, inhabit shallow sandy areas of lagoon and seaward reefs
    • Large adults are often found solitary on sand slopes with other species following to feed on prey that are disturbed when the goatfish are feeding. Depth range 5 – 35 m
    • Feed on crustaceans, worms, heart urchins and foraminiferans
    • Medium resilience, minimum population doubling time 1.4 – 4.4 years
    • Moderate vulnerability

Parupeneus ciliatus, Whitesaddle Goatfish
    • Max length 38 cm
    • Color brown to red dorsally, pale ventrally, scales on body with or without a white or pale blue spot. A darker brown or brownish-red stripe, broadly bordered in white, fron front of snout through center of eye. A dark brown spot within stripe behind eye; a second dark stripe across cheek parallel to the first, bordered below by a white band that ends at pectoral-fin base; a white or pale pink spot anteriorly on upper half of caudal penduncle, followed by a black or dusky spot with darker scale edges a little larger in size (spot may extend slightly below lateral line); fins light red to reddish gray, the second dorsal and anal fins often with small pale spots
    • Occurs in seagrass beds and coralline areas of lagoon and seaward reefs. Depth range 2 – 91 m, usually 2 – 40 m
    • Feeds on benthic invertebrates, mostly crustaceans, at night
    • Medium resilience, minimum population doubling time 1.4 – 4.4 years. Low to moderate vulnerability

Parupeneus crassilabris
    • Max length 35 cm
    • Color white, scale edges yellow or yellowish gray, the posterior edge often enlarged to a distinct yellow spot; upper 2/3 of body with two very large oval black spots, the first centered below the anterior spines of the first dorsal fin and the second below the anterior half or more of second dorsal fin and extending into basal part of fin; a large black spot on head behind the enclosing part of eye. Caudal fin streaked with dull blue and yellow; inner rim of iris bright red
    • Coastal to outer reef habitats. Juveniles usually in shallow surge channels on reef slopes adjacent to drop-offs. Adults usually seen resting on corals on reef crests
    • Medium resilience, minimum population doubling time 1.4 – 4.4 years
    • Low to moderate vulnerability

Parupeneus multifasciatus, Manybar Goatfish
    • Max length 35 cm, common length 20 cm
    • Body gray to red, the margins of the scales often yellow, with a broad black bar on caudal peduncle and one beneath anterior part of second dorsal fin, the area between bars paler than rest of the body (sometimes white); a narrow dusky bar often present below interdorsal space, and one or two broad dark bars may be present anteriorly on side of body; Head usually with a dark brown band from above upper lip through eye to upper end of gill opening. Caudal fin yellowish to pink with narrow blue lengthwise bands
    • Occasionally schooling species, occurs over sand patches as well as rubble, consolidated limestone, or coral bottoms from reef flats and shallow lagoons. Depth range 3 – 161 m
    • Feeds primarily on small crabs and shrimps during the day, also demersal fish eggs, mollusks and foraminiferans
    • Medium resilience, minimum population doubling time 1.4 – 4.4 years, Low to moderate vulnerability