| Ecological Descriptors
||Wor, Cru, Pisc
||I , Sh
(C) Geoff Schultz
Torpediform body has a series of three large blackish blotches on the upper side, beneath the dorsal fins. Color variable but usually pale, the scales of the back with reddish or yellowish brown edges and a central pale blue spot. Head with diagonal blue lines. Two long barbels under the tip of the chin
Inhabits shallow waters to depths of 40 m (rarely down to 90m), especially over sand and rock bottoms in reef areas. Often in groups. Young juveniles often found on beds of sea grass. It feeds only during the day on crabs, shrimps and small fishes . While foraging in the sand, it is usually closely followed by wrasses, yellow tail snappers and jacks in order to feed on prey that escapes from the Goatfish. At cleaning stations, these goatfish often queue up to let themselves be cleaned by cleanerfish or shrimps. The fish that is being cleaned shows a deep red color, while the other waiting show their normal pale pink color. When cleaned they assumed their normal pale pink color again. Probably this change of color serves as a signal to the cleaners when they can start and should stop.
The age at first maturity is 3.6 years at a length of 20 cm for males and 21 cm for females. It can reach an age of at least seven years and is slow growing with a late maturation age. Mass spawning has been observed. The same spawning locations can be used for multiple years.
(C) Dr P Ryan/ RyanPhotographic