Family MULLIDAE


Common name: Goatfishes

Silhouette

Summary:

A group of small to medium-sized marine fishes with two widely-spaced dorsal fins and a pair of long sensory barbels on the chin.

Goatfishes are found throughout tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, including the Red, Mediterranean and Black seas.

They live on the bottom and feed by probing and 'tasting' the sediment with their barbels.


Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Goatfishes, MULLIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Aug 2017, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/family/12

More Info


Family Taxonomy

The family Mullidae comprises more than 60 species in 6 genera. Four genera and 26 described species are known from Australian waters. Kim (2002) reconstructed relationships by examining the osteology and myology of the group.  

Family Distribution

Widespread in tropical and temperate regions of the three major oceans, including in the Red, Mediterranean and Black seas. Goatfishes inhabit inshore waters where they feed on soft sandy or muudy bottoms, although a few species are coral-reef dwellers.

Family Description

Meristics: D VI-viii, 8-9; A I-II, 5-8; P 13-17; V I, 5; Vertebrae 24. Body moderately long, slender, somewhat compressed. Head compressed, mouth subterminal, teeth small. Chin with a pair of long sensory barbels that can be folded into a groove on the throat. Two widely separated dorsal fins, the first spinous, the second with one spine and 6-8 soft rays. Anal fin longer than second dorsal fin, with 1-2 spines and 5-8 soft rays. Pectoral fins of moderate size, pelvic fins originating below pectoral fins. Caudal fin forked. Scales large, ctenoid, lateral line continuous.

Family Size

To 40 cm, although most are smaller.

Family Colour

Colour variable, from creamish to reddish, often with spots, stripes, bars, blotches and saddles. Many species are brightly coloured.

Family Feeding

Goatfishes feed by probing the sediment with their long sensory barbels. They have fine teeth and lack crushing molars, and feed on small molluscs, crustaceans, echinoderms and fishes, as well as on larger soft-bodied prey such as polychaete worms.

Family Reproduction

Sexes are separate, fertilisation is external and goatfishes are pelagic spawners.

Family Commercial

Goatfishes are an excellent-eating food fish and are highly valued throughout their range. They are taken in gill nets, traps, trawls and on hook-and-line. Although not specifically targetted, goatfishes are taken in prawn and fish trawls in Australian waters.

Author

Dianne J. Bray

References


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine fishes of tropical Australia and south-east Asia. Western Australian Museum, Perth. 1-292.

Allen, G.R. & W.F. Smith-Vaniz. 1994. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Res. Bull. 412: 21 p.

Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island Natural History Association, Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, 6798, Australia. 197 p.

Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The marine fishes of north-western Australia: a field guide for anglers and divers. Western Australian Museum, Perth. 201 p.

Francis, M.P. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Island, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170.

Francis, M.P. & J.E. Randall. 1993. Further additions to the fish faunas of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, southwest Pacific oceans. Pacific Science 47(2): 118-135.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Mullidae. In Gomon, M.F., D.J. Bray & R.H. Kuiter. (Eds.) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. New Holland Publishers. Melbourne, Australia. 1-928.

 Hoese, D.F. & D.J. Bray. 2006. Family Mullidae, pp. 1264-1274. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia, Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing. Part 1. 

Hutchins, J.B. 1990. Description of a new mullid fish from south-western Australia, with comments on Upeneichthys lineatus. Records of the Western Australian Museum 14(4): 483-493.

Hutchins, J.B. & R. Swainston. 1987. The sea fishes of southern Australia. Swainston Publishing. 180 p.

Kailola, P.J., M.J. Williams, P.C. Stewart, R.E. Reichelt, A. McNee & C. Grieve. (Eds.) 1993. Austrlaian fisheries resources. Bureau of Resource Sciences Australia. 422 p.

Kim, B.-J. 2002. Comparative anatomy and phylogeny of the family Mullidae (Teleostei: Perciformes). Memoirs of the Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University 49(1)70: 1-74.

 Kim, B.-J. & K. Nakaya. 2002. Upeneus australiae, a new goatfish (Mullidae: Perciformes) from Australia. Ichthyological Research 49(2): 128-132.

Kuiter, R.H. 1997. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. New Holland Publishers, Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia. I-xvii + 1-434.

May, J.L. & J.G.H. Maxwell. 1986. Trawl fish from temperate waters of Australia. CSIRO Division of Fisheries Research, Tasmania. 492 p.

Munro, J.L. 1983. The biology, ecology and bionomics of the goatfishes, Mullidae. p. 142-154. In J.L. Munro (ed.) Caribbean coral reef fishery resources. ICLARM Studies and Reviews 7.

Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian reef fishes. A comprehensive guide to the coral reef fishes of Micronesia. 3rd revised ed. Coral Graphics, Guam. i-vi + 1-330, 192 pls.

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. John wiley 7 sons, New Jersey, 601 p.

Platell, M.E., I.C. Potter & K.R. Clarke. 1998. Do the habitats, mouth morphology and diets of the mullids Upeneichthys stotti and U. lineatus in coastal waters of south-western Australia differ? J. Fish Biol. 52(2): 398-418.

Randall, J.E. 2001. Family Mullidae. In Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem. Species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the western central Pacific. Bony fishes part 3 (Menidae to Pomacentridae). FAO, Rome. 5: iii-iv; 2791-3379, I-XXVII.

Randall, J.E. 2004. Revision of the goatfish genus Parupeneus (Perciformes: Mullidae), with descriptions of two new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 36: 1-64, Pls. 1-16.

Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. i-xx, 1-557, I-VII.

Randall, J.E. & P. Guézé. 1992. Upeneus francisi, a new goatfish (Perciformes: Mullidae) from Norfolk Island and New Zealand. Cybium 16(1): 21-29.

Randall, J.E. & M. Kulbicki. 2006. A review of the goatfishes of the genus Upeneus (Perciformes: Mullidae) from New Caledonia and the Chesterfield Bank, with a new species and four new records. Zoological Studies 45(3): 298-307.

Uiblein, F. & P.C. Heemstra. 2010. A taxonomic review of the western Indian Ocean goatfishes of the genus Upeneus (Family Mullidae), with descriptions of four new species. Smithiana, Publications in Aquatic Biodiversity, Bulletin 11: 35-71.