Also known as the yellow-spot goatfish, the Indian goatfish is found throughout the Indo-West Pacific at depths of up to 30 metres. Recorded from Africa to Australia, it is considered relatively abundant and often occurs in large aggregations. Indian goatfish favour areas with plenty of
sand or silt, and are associated with seagrass beds and rocky reefs. They are usually pale greenish-brown in colour, and grow up to 40 centimetres in length. They have three identifying features – a circular black spot at the join of the tail fin; a large, oblong yellow spot towards the centre of the body and a pale grey-brown stripe extending from the snout to just past the eye. Although it is fished in some areas, it is currently listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.
Sometimes called the band-dot goatfish, this is a widespread species that has been recorded in a number of different regions including the east coast of Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. KwaZulu-Natal represents
the southernmost boundary of its range. It is usually found at depths shallower than 40 metres, and prefers sandy or weedy areas where it can use its barbels to dig in the soft substrate for food. Like most goatfish species, the long-barbel goatfish preys on crustaceans and worms. It grows up to 40 centimetres in length, and can be easily identified by its rosy colour and the thick black stripe that runs horizontally from eye to tail. This line is interrupted near the tail by a rectangular block of solid white.
The gold-saddle goatfish is found throughout the Indo-West Pacific. Its wide distribution has led to a number of different common names – including blue goatfish, yellow goatfish and bright-saddled goatfish. It is a surprisingly deep-
dwelling species, with records of it living at 125 metres. The gold-saddle goatfish is considered common, although it is targeted by fisheries in some parts of its range. It is found on coral or rubble reefs, and preys on small fish, crustaceans, worms and even juvenile octopi. The gold-saddle goatfish uses its barbels to flush sand-dwelling animals from their hiding places, and can reach up to 50 centimetres in length. It is a brightly coloured fish, with a yellow-blue body and vivid blue edging on some of its scales.