© Johan Boshoff


Soapfish (Grammistidae)


Soapfish measure 15 cm on average but can be as long as 40 cm.


Soapfish have strong, laterally compressed bodies and rounded tails and pectoral fins. Their mouths are large and their lower jaw extends slightly. Soapfish vary in colour from bright blue with a yellow stripe, to black and white, or silver and blue.

General Info

Soapfish belong to the Grammistidae sub-family, which consists of seven genera and 28 species, and is family of groupers. They hide in overhangs and most of the soapfish species hunt at nighttime, often with larger fish. They produce a toxic body mucus when agitated which turn to a slimy, soapy froth in the water. They are pelagic spawners.


Soapfish feed on small fish and crustaceans.


They can be found in all tropical and temperate oceans across the world.

Common Species

Goldribbon soapfish (Aulacocephalus temminckii)
Sixstripe soapfish (Grammistes sexlineatus)
Snowflake soapfish (Pogonoperca punctata)

© Johan Boshoff