The goatfishes Parupeneus cyclostomus, P. macronemus and freeloaders

John E. Randall

aqua International Journal of Ichthyology,  pp. 61-66, Volume 20 issue 2, 15 April 2014


The Indo-Pacific goatfishes Parupeneus cyclostomus and P. macronemus feed over sand like other mullid fishes, thrusting the pair of sensory barbels on the chin into sand to reveal the usual prey of small crustaceans, polychaetes, and sipunculids. They are unusual for goatfishes in foraging as well over reefs, flicking their exceptionally long barbels into reef interstices, and flushing prey (mainly small fishes) into the open.  Food-habit studies show P. cyclostomus to be mainly a predator on fishes, and comparable research is expected to prove the same for P. macronemus. Both species are often seen in cooperative feeding aggregations of their own kind moving over reefs. Both are often closely followed by other efficient fish predators, especially carangids, the larger labrids, and serranids, to take advantage of the goatfish’s skill in exposing prey. Other species are listed whose disruptive feeding on reefs attracts a variety of predaceous fishes.

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