Bandtail Goatfish, Upeneus taeniopterus Cuvier 1829

Other Names: Band-tail Goatfish, Band-tailed Goatfish, Barredfin Goatfish, Finstripe Goatfish, Fin-stripe Goatfish, Nightmare Weke

A Finstripe Goatfish, Upeneus taeniopterus, at La Digue, Seychelles, 9 March 2010. Source: Robert Pillon / FishBase. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A silvery white to pale grey goatfish with reddish to pale brown scale markings above, a pale brown to reddish-brown midlateral stripe from the snout to the caudal-fin base, another fainter and more yellowish stripe from below the eye to the caudal-fin base (sometimes a third faint yellow stripe from below pectoral-fin base to anal-fin origin), whitish barbels sometimes becoming yellowish distally, 4-8 narrow bars on the upper caudal-fin lobe, and the lower lobe with 4-6 dark bars on lower caudal-fin lobe, all bars black posteriorly, and lowermost bars broad and dark.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Upeneus taeniopterus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jun 2024,

Bandtail Goatfish, Upeneus taeniopterus Cuvier 1829

More Info


Australian Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific, from Mozambique to the Tuamoto Archipelago, French Polynesia, and from the Ryukyu Islands to Tonga. Inhabits subtidal sandy areas of oceanic islands and atolls, off beaches and in lagoons, usually at depths to 10 m.


Adults: Dorsal fin VIII + 9; Pectoral fin 13–15; Gill rakers (incl rudiments) 5–7 + 15–18 = 21–24; Lateral-line scales 36– 38.
Body depth at first dorsal-fin origin 22–26% SL, at anus 20–23% SL; caudal-peduncle depth 9.2–11% SL; maximum head depth 19–22% SL; head depth through eye 14–18% SL; head length 25–29% SL; orbit length 4.6–6.3% SL; upper jaw length 11–13% SL; barbel length 17–22% SL; caudal-fin length 28–32% SL; anal-fin height 14–17% SL; pelvic-fin length 17–20% SL; pectoral-fin length 17–20% SL; first dorsal-fin height 20–23% SL; second dorsal-fin height 15–17% SL.

Subadults: Measurements % SL: body depth at first dorsal-fin origin 22–25, at anus 18–22; caudal-peduncle depth 9.1–10; maximum head depth 18–21; head depth through eye 15–17; head length 27–30; orbit length 6.1–7.2; upper jaw length 11–13; barbel length 17–20; caudal- fin length 30–31; anal-fin height 15–17; pelvic-fin length 18–20; pectoral-fin length 18–20; first dorsal-fin height 20–22; second dorsal-fin height 15–17.


Adults: Silvery white to pale grey with reddish to pale brown scale markings above; a midlateral pale brown to reddish-brown from snout or eye to caudal-fin base, another fainter and more yellowish stripe from level of eye or behind gill cover running below pectoral-fin base to caudal-fin base or caudal peduncle (sometimes a third faint yellow stripe from below pectoral-fin base to anal-fin origin); whitish barbels sometimes becoming yellowish distally; 4-8 bars on the upper caudal-fin lobe, lower lobe with 4-6 bars on lower caudal-fin lobe (bars on or near both lobe tips and penultimate bar on lower lobe mostly black, other bars mostly red-brown to brown becoming black at distal inner margin of lobes); dorsal fins with 3 to 5 grey stripes, one at or close to fin bases, first dorsal-fin tip pale; anal and paired fins unpigmented..

Subadults: Total oblique bars on caudal fin 7–9, upper caudal-fin lobe with 4–5 black bars, the proximal bars slightly curved; 3–4 bars on lower lobe.



Upeneus taeniopterus shows intraspecific variation in morphology and number of oblique bars on the caudal fin related to two size classes, ‘subadults’ (< 12 cm SL) and ‘adults’ (12 cm SL or larger) (Uiblein et al., 2016).

Species Citation

Upeneus taeniopterus Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1829, Histoire naturelle des poissons 3: 451. Type locality: Trincomalee, Sri Lanka.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Bandtail Goatfish, Upeneus taeniopterus Cuvier 1829


Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1829. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 3 500 pp. pls 41-71. See ref at BHL

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & Williams, I. 2016. Upeneus taeniopterus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T69538589A115463091. Downloaded on 21 August 2020.

Uiblein, F. & Gouws, G. 2014. A new goatfish species of the genus Upeneus (Mullidae) based on molecular and morphological screening and subsequent taxonomic analysis. Marine Biology Research 10(7): 655-681.

Uiblein, F., Gouws, G., Gledhill, D.C. & Stone, K. 2016. Just off the beach: intrageneric distinctiveness of the bandtail goatfish Upeneus taeniopterus (Mullidae) based on a comprehensive alpha-taxonomy and barcoding approach, Marine Biology Research 12(7): 675–694

Uiblein, F. & Heemstra, P.C. 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. See ref at BHL

Uiblein, F. & Heemstra, P.C. 2011. Description of a new goatfish species, Upeneus randalli n. sp. (Mullidae), from the Persian Gulf, with remarks and identification keys for the genus Upeneus. Scientia Marina 75(3): 585-594. See ref online

Uiblein, F. & Heemstra, P.C. 2011. A new goatfish, Upeneus seychellensis sp. nov. (Mullidae), from the Seychelles Bank, with remarks on Upeneus guttatus and a key to western Indian Ocean Upeneus species. Marine Biology Research 7(7): 637-650.

Uiblein, F. & McGrouther, M. 2012. A new deep-water goatfish of the genus Upeneus (Mullidae) from northern Australia and the Philippines, with a taxonomic account of U. subvittatus and remarks on U. mascareinsis. Zootaxa 3550: 61-70.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37355039

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-10 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:33 cm TL

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