Fun Spotted Goatfish Facts For Kids | Kidadl


Fun Spotted Goatfish Facts For Kids

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The spotted goatfish, family Mullidae, are marine mullet fish whose distribution can be easily found in Mexico, the western Atlantic, and the Caribbean Sea. This range of mullet fish has a series of three large reddish-black blotches on the upper side and beneath the dorsal fins. Their color changes with change in their physical conditions, but they are usually pale with reddish or yellowish-brown scales and a pale blue spot in the center of their body. This family of fish also has a highly developed pair of barbels, a long, powerful structure with muscles, a cartilaginous skeleton, and sensory organs that help them sense, touch, and find invertebrates from underneath the sandy areas of the sea.

For more relatable content, check out these rockfish facts and gar facts for kids.

Fun Spotted Goatfish Facts For Kids

What do they prey on?

Shrimp, crabs, clams, clam worms, other bottom-dwelling invertebrates like mollusks and worms

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

11.8 in (30 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

White with red spots

Skin Type


What were their main threats?

Loss Of Habitat

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them?

Over Sand And Rocky Bottoms In Reef


Mexico, Caribbean, Western Atlantic









Spotted Goatfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spotted goatfish?

The spotted goatfish, Pseudupeneus maculatus, is one of the four goatfish species found in the world.

What class of animal does a spotted goatfish belong to?

Pseudupeneus maculatus belongs to the fish class of the family Mullidae.

How many spotted goatfish are there in the world?

The spotted goatfish has a stable and widely spread population throughout the globe. Their population doubles every 15 months, making them very stable and abundant in the world. So even though it is hard to give an actual count for the Pseudupeneus maculatus fish, they are abundant in the ocean.

Where does a spotted goatfish live?

You can easily find the distribution of spotted goatfish in all of the western Atlantic ocean in the Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, New Jersey, USA, Santa Catarina, Brazil, and the Caribbean sea. They like to make their home among the coral reefs, eelgrass beds, and shallow waters in the western Atlantic ocean.

What is a spotted goatfish's habitat?

The spotted goat fish habitat consists of shallow and warm waters and makes its habitat in the coral reefs. You can easily find them among the coral reefs, eelgrass beds, over sand, rock bottoms in reef areas, and shallow waters at a depth of 295 ft (90 m).  The young goatfish stays in seagrass beds only.

Who do spotted goatfish live with?

Spotted goatfishes are not solitary fishes at all. Instead, they like to stay in big groups called schools. They form large feeding schools with fishes of other species and lives with them. Spotted goatfishes can live with humans in the artificial environment if required care and attention are provided to them.

How long does a spotted goatfish live?

The spotted goatfish has a life span of up to seven years.

How do they reproduce?

According to the reproductive biology of the spotted goatfish reaches its sexual maturity at the age of two years. The spawning for this fish occurs in pairs or in large groups in which they release buoyant eggs into the water. These eggs then float with the currents until they are hatched. After hatching, the larvae would drift for four to eight weeks when they metamorphose and developed barbels. After developing barbels, the goatfish juveniles would settle in the seagrass beds and feed on plankton. As they grow, their feeding habits and social behavior changes as well.

What is their conservation status?

By the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the spotted goatfish is declared as a Least Concern species, which means that they can be found in abundance in their natural habitat. However, in many parts, they are fished for commercial purposes for fresh and frozen food and aquarium trade, and some of these places might even be prone to overfishing. Moreover, the degradation of coral reef habitat is also putting its toll on goatfishes and other coral reef fishes. This can affect their risk-free status in the long term.

Spotted GoatFish Fun Facts

What do spotted goatfish look like?

The spotted mullet has an elongated goatfish-like body with a small protrusible mouth with conical teeth and two long barbels on their chin, giving them the look of a goat. These marine fish are normally white or pale in color, with three large red blotches on their upper sides of the body, underneath the dorsal fins. On their head, you can see diagonal blue lines and eyes set up very high. This fish is covered in large scales and has a deeply forked caudal fin. Their first dorsal fin has eight to nine spines, the second dorsal fin has one spine and eight rays, and their pectoral fines have 13-15 rays. They also have large pelvic fins just before the pectoral fin base.

The Spotted GoatFish

How cute are they?

The spotted mullet is very cute. Especially because they can change their colors depending on many factors; they display different colors in the day and night.

How do they communicate?

Just like other fishes, the spotted goatfish uses motions and gestures to communicate. Given that they form schools with comminglings of other species, communication is a significant value for working well. Therefore the spotted goatfish needs to have excellent communication skills to form schools with other fishes without any conflicts.

How big is a spotted goatfish?

The spotted goatfish can grow as big as 11.8 in (30 cm), which is almost twice smaller than the body length of barracuda fish living in the same waters of the Caribbean sea.  

How fast can a spotted goatfish swim?

The spotted goatfish are swift swimmers. In the sea, they would form big schools and swim very fast in multiple pairs.

How much does a spotted goatfish weigh?

The information regarding their weight is not properly available. However, the Indian goatfish or red mullet, of the same family Mullidae, weighs on an average of up to 8.8 oz (250 g), and hence the spotted goatfish must weigh somewhat in the same range.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The spotted goat fish female and male are not given any separate specific names. However, you can differentiate between them by looking at their barbels when the two-spotted goatfish of the opposite sex interacts. The adult goatfish reaches their sexual maturity at the age of two years.

What would you call a baby spotted goatfish?

Before becoming juveniles, baby spotted goatfish, just like all other baby fish, are called fry. The spotted goatfish juveniles are found in the seagrass beds.

What do they eat?

The spotted goat fish diet includes shrimp, crabs, clams, clam worms, and other bottom-dwelling invertebrates. The spotted goatfish discover these bottom-dwelling invertebrates like crustaceans, worms, mollusks, by using their barbels to touch and sense to explore the sandy sea areas.

Are they dangerous?

The spotted goatfish can lead to ciguatera poisoning. It is a poisoning caused by eating otherwise edible tropical, subtropical, and reef fish, in whose flesh a toxic substance accumulates produced by dinoflagellates. The symptoms of this poisoning develop in three to six hours or in some rare cases even after 30 hours of eating the contaminated fish, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. Each year up to 50,000 cases of ciguatera poisoning are reported and affect every 3 out of 100 people.

Would they make a good pet?

The spotted goatfish are a perfect pet to keep in your aquarium. They are one of the best-behaved fish that doesn't involve in fish fights with their tank mates. Instead, they would roam at the bottom of the tank constantly. This carnivorous fish is very active and is never found resting or sleeping. Because of their never resting nature, they need food several times a day. Their typical feed for the aquariums consists of meaty foods like plankton, mysis shrimp, brine shrimp, krill, and clams. They need the same physical conditions in their aquariums as that of a typical tropical coral reef: warm, clean, clear water with a temperature lower than 80°F (26.7°C) and 8.3 pH with a salinity of 36 parts per thousand.

Did you know...

The spotted goatfish is one of the 50 fish species known for bottom foraging. Foraging is the activity of gathering food. Forage fish or prey fish, or baitfish, are small fish that are preyed on by larger predators for food.

Can you eat spotted goatfish?

The spotted goatfish is completely edible and is also harvested as food in many parts of the globe.

According to the early Greeks, eating goatfish was a sign of being an epicurean elite, and hence this fish was very popular among the banquets of the Roman ruling class and was paid with high bounties for the larger specimens.

Why is it called a spotted goatfish?

This mullet fish gets its name from the reddish blotches present on their bodies and the barbels under their chin, giving them the look of a goat. Similarly, the blue striped goatfish (Upeneichthys lineatus) gets its name from the blue lines on their red bodies and they are also edible.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these bonito fish interesting facts and blue tang surprising facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable spotted goatfish coloring pages.

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