© Johan Boshoff

Common family name


Scientific name



Up to 60 cm, average 35 cm.


Goatfish have an elongated body. They have a pair of thin barbels each side of the mouth and large scales. Their dorsal fins are well separated and forked caudal fin. Colours vary from silver and black to bright yellow.

General Information

Mullidae family consists of 6 genera and 55 species. Bottom feeders. Use the barbels to find food in the sand (chemosensory). Also used to attract females during courtship. Found in small groups hunting for food. Sometimes accompanied by other opportunistic fish. Pelagic spawners.


Feeds on small crustaceans and weed-living organisms, including worms and echinoderms.


Occurs in all temperate and tropical oceans of the world.

Common species

Blacksaddle goatfish - Parupeneus rubescens
Double-bar goatfish - Parupeneus bifasiatus
Flame goatfish - Mulloides vanicolensis

© Johan Boshoff