Sidespot Goatfish- Facts and Photographs

Sidespot Goatfish (Parupeneus pleurostigma)

The Sidespot Goatfish (Parupeneus pleurostigma) is also known as the  Round-spot Goatfish and the Whitespot Goatfish. They are uncommon on the rubble areas and reefs on the Tanzanian coast and are only occasionally seen. Goatfish all have a pair of retractable barbels or feelers that have sensory organs in them to detect prey. They all have proportionally long bodies with a deeply forked tail.


The Sidespot Goatfish generally has a light grey background color with a round black spot on the side. Behind the black spot is a white blotch. Immediately above the white blotch on the dorsal area there is a further small black blotch. Around the eye is a yellow ring and on the face there are thin yellow and blue lines.  On the caudal area there is a row of blue dots that extends onto the tail. Sometimes the body goes a light pinky color and this can be seen two images down.

Sidespot Goatfish (Parupeneus pleurostigma)


The Sidespot Goatfish is more common at around 15 to 20 meters on the reefs and rubble areas of coastal Tanzania, but sometimes they are seen shallower. They are usually singular, rarely in small groups. Quite often they will feed with Longbarbel Goatfish and juvenile Parrotfish who do not compete with them for food and who may camouflage them to some extent.

Sidespot Goatfish (Parupeneus pleurostigma)


The Sidespot Goatfish is found across the Indo Western Pacific  Ocean. They are found from East Africa across to Australia and north to Japan.

Sidespot Goatfish (Parupeneus pleurostigma)


The Sidespot Goatfish feed onworms, small crustaceans, heart urchins, gastropods, pelecypods, foraminiferans, brittle stars, and small fishes. Once they begin searching an area the comb it quite meticulously with their barbels. The barbels are quite prehensile and they have a large degree of control over them. Both seem to operate independently and if they allow one to get close while feeding, it is quite interesting to watch them.


Little is known of their breeding habits but their eggs are released into the substrate and they have a long larval period. Once the barbels begin forming they become benthic.



Sidespot Goatfish are not commonly kept in aquariums and their potential size of 35 cm they would require a large tank with large tank mates would be a prerequisite. Because of their tendency to root around they are not suitable for reef tanks and rocks would have to be be well anchored.


Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Mullidae
Genus: Parupeneus
Species:P. pleurostigma