Bluespotted Goatfish, Upeneichthys vlamingii (Cuvier 1829)

Other Names: Black-striped Goatfish, Blue-spotted Goatfish, Red Mullet, Southern Goatfish, Southern Red Mullet, Western Red Mullet

Bluespotted Goatfish, Upeneichthys vlamingii, at Rye Pier, Port Phillip, Victoria, January 2011. Source: Sarah Speight / Flickr. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


A common and widespread goatfish in southern Australia.

Bluespotted Goatfish are highly variable in colour - often whitish to pale pink with a brownish to reddish stripe along the side, or reddish with bright blue spots and wavy lines, and usually with blue spots and dashes on fins.

Bluespotted Goatfish feeding in Port Phillip, Victoria.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Upeneichthys vlamingii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 22 Jun 2024,

Bluespotted Goatfish, Upeneichthys vlamingii (Cuvier 1829)

More Info


Widespread and often very common in southern Australia, including coastal waters of Tasmania, from Eden, New South Wales, to the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia.

Inhabits bays, estuaries and sheltered coastal waters, usually over sandy and rubble areas near reefs, at depths to 200 m. Juveniles often form schools in sheltered bays.


Dorsal fin VIII + I, 8; Anal fin II, 6; Caudal fin 17; Pectoral fin 15; Pelvic fin I, 5; Lateral line scales 27; Gill rakers 23-24.

Body moderately long and compressed; dorsal profile rounded, steep in front of dorsal fin; snout long, mouth small with fleshy lips, jaws not reaching below front of eye; chin with a pair of sensory barbels.


Colour highly variable from overall greyish-cream, pale greenish, pinkish to orange-red. Some individuals have a reddish to blackish stripe running from the snout, through the eye to the tail base. Others have blue lines and spots. Individuals can rapidly change colour, and may be more brightly-coloured at night.


Goatfish use the sensory barbels on the chin to probe the sediment for food. Bluespotted Goatfish feed mostly on crustaceans, but also consume polycheate worms and occasionally eat small fishes. 


Taken as bycatch in the King George Whiting Fishery, and also on handlines in South Australia. Very common in Spencer Gulf, South Australia and a popular foodfish in that State.

Goatfish are very popular food fishes in Asia and Europe. Apparently under-rated as a food fish in Australia

Similar Species

Very similar to and often confused with the Buestriped Goatfish, Upeneichthys lineatuswhich has a slightly shorter head and a paler body stripe.


The species is named in honour of Admiral Cornelis de Vlamingh, a collector and illustrator of fishes for the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle in Paris, France.

Species Citation

Upeneus vlamingii Cuvier, 1829, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 3: 452, pl. 71. Type locality: King George Sound, Western Australia


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Bluespotted Goatfish, Upeneichthys vlamingii (Cuvier 1829)


Allan, R. 2002. Australian Fish and How to Catch Them. Sydney : New Holland Publishers (Australia) 394 pp.

Currie, D.R. & S.J. Sorrokin. 2010. A preliminary evaluation of the distribution and trophodynamics of demersal fish from Spencer Gulf. Report to the South Australian Department of Environment and Heritage. SARDI Publication No. F2012/000088-1. 185 p.

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

Edgar, G.J. 2008. Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Sydney : Reed New Holland 2, 624 pp.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Emmelichthyidae, Gerreidae, Sparidae, Sciaenidae, Mullidae. pp. 585-592 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Grant, E.M. 1991. Fishes of Australia. Brisbane : EM Grant Pty Ltd 480 pp. [225] (as Upeneichthys lineatus, in part)

Hoese, D.F. & Bray, D.J. 2006. Family Mullidae. pp. 1264-1274 in Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. 1990. Description of a new species of mullid fish from south-western Australia, with comments on Upeneichthys lineatus. Records of the Western Australian Museum 14(4): 483-493 figs 1-4

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66 figs 1-6 [48] (as Upeneichthys lineatus vlamingii).

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): 1-74

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1994. Family Mullidae, in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

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.

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs. [371] (as Upeneichthys sp.)

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp. [313] (as Upeneichthys lineatus)

Yearsley, G.K., Last, P.R. & Ward, R.D. (eds) 1999. Australian Seafood Handbook. Hobart : CSIRO Marine Research 460 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37355029

Depth:2-100 m

Fishing:Popular food fish in SA

Habitat:Sandy & shelly bottoms

Max Size:40 cm

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map