Animal Species:Dot-and-dash Goatfish, Parupeneus barberinus (Lacépède, 1801)

The Dot-and-dash Goatfish can be recognised by a large black spot on the caudal peduncle. It is found in tropical marine waters.

Dot-and-dash Goatfish at Ribbon reef

Dot-and-dash Goatfish at Ribbon reef
Photographer: Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Dot-and-dash Goatfish

Alternative Name/s

Dash-and-dot Goatfish, Dash-dot Goatfish


The Dot-and-dash Goatfish has a pale whitish body with a dark stripe that extends from the mouth, through the eye and along the upper side of the fish. There is a large black spot on the caudal peduncle.

Size range

The species grows to 50 cm in length.


The Dot-and-dash Goatfish occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-Pacific region, from East Africa, north to Japan, throughout Micronesia, south to Australia and east to the Tuamoto Islands. In Australia it is known from the north-western coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country, and south to central coast of New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Parupeneus barberinus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Dot-and-dash Goatfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?


The Dot-and-dash Goatfish inhabits lagoons and seaward reefs and is most commonly seen over large sandy and rubbly areas. It occurs in groups or as solitary individuals during the day. At night it is solitary, resting on the bottom. It can be found at depths of 1 m to 100 m.

Feeding and Diet

During the day the Dot-and-dash Goatfish forages in groups for benthic crustaceans and polychaete worms. It is commonly seen probing sandy or rubbly bottoms with its barbels, which are located under the chin. The barbels contain chemosensory organs. When not in use, the barbels are tucked under a portion of the gill covers.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 220.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 362.
  3. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 222.
  4. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 415.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Dot-and-dash Goatfish, Parupeneus barberinus, Mullidae, pale body, dark stripe, large black spot, 30 cm - 1 m, Indo-Pacific, inhabits lagoons,