The Whiskered Reef Fish

Aptly named for the two large “whiskers,“ or barbels, protruding from their chin area, goatfish are famous for these two chemosensory organs they use to hunt for food. You can typically do diving with goatfish along the shallow reef flats, where they like to dig around through the sand and sediment in search of their next meal. They use their “whiskers“ to feel around in the sand for their next meal of small invertebrates and fish.

Besides their obvious whiskers, goatfish are recognizable by their deep, elongated bodies, forked tails, and well-separated dorsal fins. You can find these schooling fish throughout the tropical regions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. With over 60 different species within the Mullidae family, goatfish come in varying shades of red and yellow, with some species able to rapidly change color based on their surroundings. Check out the map below to find where you can go diving with goatfish.