Spotted Goatfish Identification

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The spotted goatfish is identifiable by its propensity to move in small groups across a sandy bottom area. Identify the black patches on the whitish spotted goatfish with help from a scuba diving instructor in this free video on fish identification and marine life.

Part of the Video Series: Caribbean Fish
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Video Transcript

The marine creature we're going to identify now is the spotted goatfish. If you see a small group of whitish colored fish moving slowly across a sandy bottom area and they have three dark patches along their back, you're seeing spotted goatfish. They have two barbels or feelers under their chin which they use to detect food in the sandy bottom. They have a rectangular body and you may occasionally notice light blue diagonal lines on their heads. When the spotted goatfish is inactive and resting on the bottom, their bodies turn a muddled reddish brown color, which quickly fades back to white when they start moving again. Spotted goatfish range in size from five to eleven inches in length with most in the five to eight inch range. They can be commonly found around the tropical waters of Florida and less frequently around the Bahamas and most of the rest of the Caribbean. Their depth range is generally five to sixty feet, but have been reported in waters deeper than two hundred feet. Spotted goatfish feed by digging through the sandy but rubble bottoms they inhabit. In an effort to scare up small invertebrates such as hermit crabs. You can often see other fish like bar jacks, yellowtail jacks or wrasses following spotted goatfish around as they feed. They do this in hopes that something the goatfish scares up as it stirs through the sand and rubble will be missed by the goatfish and become dinner for the followers. Although we found no information about the reproductive habits of the spotted goatfish, it's probably safe to assume that they are similar to the many other goatfish species around the world. This means that they exist as separate male and females and that they are egg layers. That's the spotted goatfish.


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