Tag: Goatfish (Mullidae)

The Goatfish (Mullidae) family consists of approximately 55 species within 6 genera, a few of which can be found in local waters.

Goatfish vary in size locally from around 10cm to 45cm, and although there doesn't appear to be a wide diversity of species in this area, the ones which are present here could be considered as fairly common.

As with all members of the Mullidae family, local species of Goatfish are easily recognised by their deep, elongate bodies, forked tail fins and widely separated dorsal fins. However, their most distinguishing feature are the two "chemosensory barbels" found on the underside of the chin which they use for detecting food hidden below the surface of the sand.

It is not uncommon to be diving along a shallow sandy area, close to a reef and see a large cloud of sand and debris in the distance. More often than not it will turn out to be a Goatfish tirelessly searching for food.

The Goatfish (Mullidae) family consists of approximately 55 species within 6 genera, a few of which can be found in local waters.

Goatfish vary in size locally from around 10cm to 45cm, and although there doesn't appear to be a wide diversity of species in this area, the ones which are present here could be considered as fairly common.

As with all members of the Mullidae family, local species of Goatfish are easily recognised by their deep, elongate bodies, forked tail fins and widely separated dorsal fins. However, their most distinguishing feature are the two "chemosensory barbels" found on the underside of the chin which they use for detecting food hidden below the surface of the sand.

It is not uncommon to be diving along a shallow sandy area, close to a reef and see a large cloud of sand and debris in the distance. More often than not it will turn out to be a Goatfish tirelessly searching for food.

Alan's picture
Dark-Barred Goatfish (Upeneus Luzonius)

A Dark-Barred Goatfish (Upeneus Luzonius) scours the sand and silt on the offshore slope at Mae Haad/Koh Ma with its chemo-sensory barbels (the two yellow appendages seen here below the mout

Alan's picture
Cinnabar Goatfish (Parupeneus Heptacanthus)

A pair of Cinnabar Goatfish (Parupeneus Heptacanthus) searching for food in the gravel at a depth of around 25m at Sail Rock.

Alan's picture
Bar-Tailed Goatfish (Upeneus Tragula)

In this photo of a Bar-Tailed Goatfish (Upeneus Tragula) it is possible to see the groove below the chin in which the "chemosensory barbels" are placed when the fish is not searching for food.

Alan's picture
Bar-Tailed Goatfish (Upeneus Tragula)

A group of Bar-Tailed Goatfish (Upeneus Tragula) resting on a large coral formation.

This photo clearly shows all of the features which make identifying this species relatively easy. For example:

Alan's picture
Indian Goatfish (Parupeneus Indicus), Redbreasted Moari (Cheilinus Fasciatus) & Pastel Green Wrasse (Halichoeres Chloropterus)

An Indian Goatfish (Parupeneus Indicus) in it's relentless pursuit of food hidden below the sand.

As is often the case, this individual is being accompanied by two members of the Wrasse (Labridae) family which are generally bold and opportunistic feeders.

Alan's picture
Indian Goatfish (Parupeneus Indicus) 2

An Indian Goatfish (Parupeneus Indicus) with the distinguishing feature of the Mullidae family, the 2 "chemosensory barbels", clearly visible below the chin.

These barbels are used by Goatfish to detect food hidden below the surface of thsubstrate (usually sand or silt). Their diet typically includes small crustaceans, molluscs and invertibrates.

Alan's picture
Indian Goatfish (Parupeneus Indicus) 1

Probably the largest species of Goatfish found locally, the Indian Goatfish (Parupeneus Indicus) can be distunguished by it's large size (compared to other local Goatfish species), black spot at the base of the tail, large elongated yellow spot along the back and blue-ish lines around the face.