The goatfishes belong to the Mullidae family and rank among the common and proverbial features in the Red Sea. Not common though are their peculiar barbels they are equipped with. These barbels can be spotted beneath the chin on either side of the mouth. It is as if these barbells function as sensitive filaments to trace benthic items on the daily menu such as molluscs, crustaceans and worms. The goatfishes are diurnal or nocturnal, depending on the species.

The goatfish isn’t your most gregarious type, living singly or with just a few companions only, roaming areas with sandy sea patches. Here they cause sand disturbance and disorder by disruption when they hunt. During their digging for food, we see the formation of whirls of mud and sandy columns. This attracts other species because the clouds of sand contains microscopic food particles.

Family members

Forsskal’s Goatfish

Size up to 28 cm ( 0,9 ft ). Depth up to 40m (130ft)

The forsskal’s goatfish is also known by the name of Red Sea goatfish and is endemic to the Red Sea. It detects food, small invertebrates, with its chin barbels it uses as sensory organs. I terms of coloration, we see a blend of yellow and white, edged by a horizontal black band and with yellow at the margin. The Forsskal has a symmetric and streamlined body and can be seen above sandy bottoms. In marauding mode, they are brothers in arms with the long-snouted bird wrasse in mixed groups.

Yellowfin Goatfish

Size up to 38 cm (1,2 ft ). Depth up to 113m (37ft)

Almost everyone’s friend, this goatfish comfortably and easily mingles with sweetlips and snappers. Note the pinkish and white tone with a yellow stripe running on either sides of the entire body. It’s inactive during the day, at night socializing near sandy sea floors and tasting small worms and crustaceans.

Other Family Members

Small-Spot Goatfish

Red-Striped Goatfish

Long-Barbel Goatfish

Yellowsaddle Goatfish

Yellowstripe Goatfish