Talk About Fish
Home More Back Next


Goatfishes are members of the Mullidae family. They are found in the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. Most of them inhabit shallow seas and are usually found on open sand or mud bottoms. The goatfishes are recognized by their 2 long barbels on their chin which contains chemosensory organs for food detection purpose. Most of them have ephemeral color change ability and therefore have great variation of colour patterns within the same species in different habitats, in different state of activities and time of day.

Goatfishes are carnivorous. They feed on a wide variety of small animals, especially crustaceans, worms and small fishes.

There are 6 genera and about 80 species of Mullidae worldwide. Malaysia has 3 genera and about 23 species.

Scientific Name: Parupeneus heptacanthus  (Lacepède, 1802)
English Name: Cinnabar Goatfish
French Name: Barbet à point rouge
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 红点副绯鲤 (Hóng diǎn fù fēi lǐ), 三须 (Sān xū)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Lebai, Biji Nangka Karang, Biji Nangka Tanda Merah
Bahasa Indonesia: Ikan Biji Nangka Koi, Dayah Jenggot, Ciko-ciko, Jenggotan, Timbungan Igabuku, Lepetan
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาแพะทองเหลือง (Plā phaet thongh̄elụ̄xng, ปลาหนวดฤาษี (Plā h̄nud vās̄ʹī), ปลาหนวดแพะ (Plā h̄nud phaet)
Main Identification Features: A small reddish brown spot on upper side of body of adults just below seventh and eighth lateral-line scales.
Size: Maximum total length 38 cm, commonly to 28 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Sand and weed bottoms, often in somewhat turbid water, 12 to 60 m depth. Occur solitary or in small groups.

Scientific Name: Upeneus sulphureus  Cuvier, 1829
English Name: Sulphur Goatfish, Sunrise Goatfish, Yellow Goatfish
French Name: Rouget-souris aurore
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 黄带绯鲤 (Huáng dài fēi lǐ), 三须 (Sān xū)
Local Malay Name: Biji Nangka Biasa
Bahasa Indonesia: Ikan Kunir, Kakunir, Kuniran, Biji Nangka, Rambangan
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาแพะเหลือง (Plā phaet h̄elụ̄xng)
Main Identification Features: Lobes of caudal fin without dark cross bands. Yellowish lower lobe base, grey on upper lobe. Body dorsally pale brown and ventrally white, silvery on sides with 2 narrow brassy yellow stripes. First dorsal fin with 2 broad dusky yellowish stripes separated by narrow white stripes, the tip broadly black. White barbels.
Size: Maximum total length 23 cm, commonly to 14 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Coastal sand and mud bottoms and estuaries, 10 to 90 m depth, commonly at 20 to 60 m depth. Often forms schools.

Scientific Name: Upeneus sundaicus  (Bleeker, 1855)
English Name: Ochrebanded Goatfish, Yellowfin Goatfish
Mandarin Name | 鱼类中文名: 黄尾绯鲤 (Huáng wěi fēi lǐ), 三须 (Sān xū)
Local Malay Name: Biji Nangka Sunda
Bahasa Indonesia: Ikan Kunir, Kakunir, Kuniran, Biji Nangka
Thai Name | ชื่อสามัญภาษาไทย: ปลาแพะลาย (Plā phaet lāy)
Main Identification Features: Body moderately elongate and compressed. Chin with 2 slender yellow barbels. Two well-separated dorsal fins. Pectoral-fin rays 13 to 15, usually 14. Lateral-line scales 31 to 32. A pale brown mid-lateral body stripe from behind eye to caudal-fin base with three dark zones, one under each dorsal fin and one anterior of the caudal fin base. Peritoneum brownish yellow. Upper lobe of caudal fin with 5-6 red grey cross bands in fresh fish which may be faint. Lower lobe of caudal fin with a broad dusky posterior border, with or without faint dark cross bands.
Size: Maximum total length 22 cm, commonly to 13 cm.
Habitat and Ecology: Coastal sand and mud bottoms. Feeds on benthic animals.