Diamondscale Goatfish, Parupeneus ciliatus (Lacépède 1802)

Other Names: Blackspot Goatfish, Cardinal Goatfish, Diamond-scale Goatfish, Diamondscaled Goatfish, Diamond-scaled Goatfish, Whitesaddle Goatfish

A Diamondscale Goatfish, Parupeneus ciliatus, at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, February 2008. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A brownish to reddish or pinkish-grey, or occasionally yellowish goatfish with yellow pelvic and anal fins, large prominent, dark-edged scales, two white stripes from the snout running above and below the eye fading along the body, sometimes another short white stripe from the corner of the mouth across the pectoral fin base, and a pale patch or saddle on the tail base at the rear of the dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J., Parupeneus ciliatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024,

Diamondscale Goatfish, Parupeneus ciliatus (Lacépède 1802)

More Info


Monte Bello Islands, Western Australia, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and reefs in the Coral Sea, to at least Jervis Bay, New South Wales; also Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.


Brown to red above, paler below, with darker scale edges; scales on body with or without a white or pale blue spot; a darker brown or brownish red stripe, broadly bordered in white, from front of snout through middle of eye, becoming indistinct below origin of second dorsal fin; a dark brown spot within stripe behind eye; a second dark stripe across cheek parallel to the first, bordered below by a white band that ends at pectoral-fin base; a white or pale pink spot anteriorly on upper half of caudal peduncle covering about three horizontal rows of scales, followed by a black or dusky spot with darker scale edges a little larger in size (spot may extend slightly below lateral line); fins pale red to reddish-grey, the second dorsal and anal fins often with small pale spots.

Similar Species

The Blacksaddle Goatfish, Parupeneus spilurus, differs in having a black spot behind the pale saddle on the upper tail base.

Species Citation

Sciaena ciliata Lacépède 1802, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 4: 308, 311. Type locality not specified.


Bray, D.J.


Australian Faunal Directory

Diamondscale Goatfish, Parupeneus ciliatus (Lacépède 1802)


Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2

Coleman, N. 2002. Lord Howe Island Marine Park. Springwood, Queensland : Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Pty. Ltd. 96 pp. 

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Lacépède, B.G. 1802. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : chez Plassan Vol. 4 728 pp. 16 pls.

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

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

Valenciennes, A. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1831. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 7 531 pp. pls 170-208. (as Upeneus fraterculus)

Whitley, G.P. 1941. Ichthyological notes and illustrations. The Australian Zoologist 10(1): 1-50 figs 1-32 pls 1-2 (described as Parupeneus sufflavus)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37355024

Depth:2-91 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:38 cm TL

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