Occurrence at the Busselton Jetty
The adult Black Spotted Goatfish can be occasionally seen on the sea floor from the underwater observatory. Juveniles become more numerous over the summer season.
Black-spot goatfish are named after the large black spot at the rear of the body behind the dorsal fin, often preceded by a bright yellow patch just in front of the black spot. They are a white to dull red colour with numerous broad dark stripes along the length of the elongate body. Adults develop small blue spots and a blue tinge to the fins. They have a pair of yellow highly sensitive sensory organs called barbels located under the chin. .These barbels are used to probe the sediment in search for prey, such as small invertebrates, including worms and crustaceans, on the seafloor. These barbels can be retracted into grooves when not in use.
The black spot goatfish is a warm water species preferring north Australian waters and it is also found in Papua New Guinea and northern New Zealand. Two separate populations of black spot goatfish are found in Australia; one on the east coast and one on the west coast. Geographe Bay is the southern limit where the black-spot goatfish is found. Black-spot goatfish inhabit coastal reefs and estuaries. This species is one of the largest of Australian goatfish, attaining a maximum length of 50 centimetres. Adults are solitary while juveniles are found in schools.