> Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes
seen? This well-camouflaged fish is sometimes seen on
silty sandy shores near seagrasses. It may be common but just overlooked.
It is considered the most widespread goatfish in the tropical Indo-Pacific.
are goatfishes? Goatfishes belong to Family Mullidae. According
the family has 6 genera and 55 species in the Atlantic, Indian, and
Pacific Oceans. There are two long barbels on the chin, which contain
chemosensory organs and are used to probe the sand or holes in the
reef for bottom-dwelling animals or small fish. The barbels are also
used by males during courtship of females. When not in use, the barbels
are tucked away tightly under the chin. These fishes can change their
colours with mood and during the day and night. Juveniles may look
very different from adults.
Features: Up to 30cm long, those seen about 4-8cm long.
Body long and somewhat cylindrical, with a blunt snout. The pair of
barbels under the chin is hard to spot from above on a resting fish.
Those seen tend to have broad dark bars across the body. In some,
the forked tail had darkish bands.
Accounts suggest the Freckled goatfish comes in a wide variety of
colours and patterns. From red, to irregular dots and blotches on
body; brown-blackish stripe from snout to tail fin. Adults with dark
tips on both dorsal fins and typically with several yellow spots in
the dark tip of the first dorsal fin. When resting on the bottom,
they tend to be red and spotted, both during day or night. When swimming
about to feed, they are light colored with a black stripe along the
body. It is also called the Bar-tailed goatfish and Black-striped
What does it eat? It feeds on bottom dwelling such as worms,
shrimps, crabs, snails and clams, echinoderms and little fishes.
Human uses: Large ones are eaten
as food fish.
Tanah Merah, Jun 09
Pair of barbels under the chin
Terumbu Pempang Tengah, May 11
Photo shared by Ivan Kwan on flickr.
Pulau Semakau, Sep 05
goatfishes on Singapore shores
Beting Bronok, Aug 15
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.
Kusu Island, Apr 17
Photo shared by Ian Siah on facebook.
Mullidae recorded for Singapore
Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity
Upeneus luzoniscus=**Upeneus sundaicus
Upeneus sulphureus (Sulphur goatfish)
Upeneus tragula (Freckled goatfish)