Longbarbel Goatfish, Parupeneus macronemus (Lacépède 1801)

Other Names: Long-barbel Goatfish

A Longbarbel Goatfish, Parupeneus macronemus, in the Gulf of Oman, at Fahl Island, Oman. Source: Richard Field / FishBase. License: All rights reserved

A whitish to greyish, or pinkish to reddish goatfish with long sensory chin barbels, a broad black stripe from the eye running along the lateral line to below the soft dorsal fin, a large black spot (greater than eye diameter) on the middle of the caudal peduncle preceded by a broad white area, and a broad dark stripe along the base of the second dorsal fin. Individuals may become pinkish to reddish at night.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Parupeneus macronemus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4940

Longbarbel Goatfish, Parupeneus macronemus (Lacépède 1801)

More Info


Recorded in the Australian EEZ from the territories of Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-West Pacific.
Individuals or small inhabit sandy, rubble and weedy areas at depths to 40 m.


Dorsal fin VIII + 9; Anal fin I, 7; Pectoral fin 15-17 (usually 16); Gill rakers 7-9 + 27-30 (total 34-39). 
Body moderately elongate, the depth 3.3-3.7 in SL; head length (HL) 2.8-3.2 in SL; snout length 1.7-1.9 in HL; barbels long, their length 1.1-1.25 in HL; longest dorsal spine 1.45-1.75in HL; penultimate ray of second dorsal fin of adults 1.25-1.6 in last dorsal ray, the last ray relatively longer with growth; pectoral fins 1.3-1.5 in HL; pelvic fins 1.2-1.45 in HL.


Body grey to greyish-red above, whitish to pink below, with a black stripe from eye along lateral line to anterior part of caudal peduncle; a roundish black spot larger than eye on side of peduncle about two-thirds above lateral line; a broad white area from in front of the peduncular spot to below the rear of the second dorsal fin; scales below black stripe often with a pale blue vertical line or spot; a dusky band often present on snout from eye to side of upper lip; barbels white; first dorsal and caudal fins reddish-grey; basal one-third to one-half of second dorsal fin black, the dark pigment continuing to end of last ray and adjacent membrane; outer part of fin with narrow pale blue and yellow stripes; anal fin dusky yellow with faint narrow pale blue stripes.


Feeds by probing the sediment with its long barbels in search of prey such as crustaceans and polychaete worms.


Fished commercially in parts of its range; also traded in the aquarium industry.

Similar Species

The similar Dot-and-dash Goatfish, Parupeneus barberinus, has a narrower black stripe along the side, and lacks the blackish stripe along the second dorsal-fin base.


The specific name macronemus is from the Greek macro (= long) and nema (= thread), in reference to the long chin barbels of this species.

Species Citation

Mullus macronemus Lacepède, 1801, Hist. Nat. Poiss 3: 404, pl. 13 (fig. 2). No type locality specified.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Longbarbel Goatfish, Parupeneus macronemus (Lacépède 1801)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012.Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.
Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island.Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Bleeker, P. 1875. Révision des espèces insulindiennes de la famille des Mulloïdes. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen 15: 1-40.

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202 https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/rbz/supplement-no-30/

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S .J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands: new records, community composition and biogeographic significance. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 203–219 https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/rbz/supplement-no-30/

Lacepède, B.G. 1801. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : chez Plassan Vol. 3 558 pp. 34 pls. See ref at BHL

Randall, J.E. 2001. Mullidae. pp. 3175-3200 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

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

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & Williams, I. 2016. Parupeneus macronemus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T46086601A115393911. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T46086601A46664729.en. Downloaded on 22 August 2020.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37355035

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy & weedy areas

Max Size:40 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map