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

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Upeneus taeniopterus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Feb 2020,

Bandtail Goatfish, Upeneus taeniopterus Cuvier 1829

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Recorded from the Australian Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Island in the Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widely distributed in the Indo-west-central Pacific, from Mozambique to the Tuamoto Archipelago, French Polynesia, and from the Ryukyu Islands to Tonga. Occurs mostly in very shallow subtidal sandy beach or lagoon habitats of oceanic islands and atolls, usually from one to 10 m.


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

Diagnosis of 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: Total oblique bars on caudal fin 9–14, upper caudal-fin lobe with 5–8 black bars, the proximal bars slightly curved; 4–6 bars on lower lobe; bars on or close to both lobe tips and penultimate bar on lower lobe mostly black, other bars mostly red or brown, becoming black at distal inner margin of lobes; at least the black parts of bars retained on preserved fish; two lateral body stripes, one pale brown or reddish brown at mid-body from snout or eye to caudal-fin base, the other fainter, mostly shorter, and more yellowish below; first dorsal-fin tip pale; barbels white at bases and yellow distally in fresh fish, sometimes entirely white.

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.

Species Citation

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


Dianne J. Bray

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.

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.

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, DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2016.1190458 PDF Open access

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.

Uiblein, F. & P.C. Heemstra. 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.

Uiblein, F. & P.C. Heemstra. 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. & M. McGrouther. 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. PDF

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37355039

Depth:1-10 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:33 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map