Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory



<I>Upeneus filifer</I>, holotype of <I>Pennon filifer</I> Whitley

Upeneus filifer, holotype of Pennon filifer Whitley


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CAAB: 37355000


Goatfishes, Red Mullet

Compiler and date details

1 November 2019 - Douglass F. Hoese, Dianne J. Bray & Matthew M. Lockett

9 February 2015 - Douglass F. Hoese, Dianne J. Bray & Matthew M. Lockett

22 January 2012 - Douglass F. Hoese & Dianne J. Bray

December 2006 - Douglass F. Hoese & Dianne J. Bray


Members of the Mullidae or goatfishes are found worldwide in tropical and warm temperate waters. Currently, six genera and around 85 species (Nelson 2006, Nelson et al. 2016) are recognised, with 33 species in four genera known from Australia and 5 additional species included from external territories. The number of recognised species has increased by almost 25% in the last 10 years.

The family is distinguished by the presence of two elongate, moveable chin barbels. Mullids occur over sand around coral reefs and on the continental shelf. Generally, species of Upeneus are found over open sand in embayments, and on the continental shelf; species of Mulloidichthys are typically associated with coral reefs; and Parupeneus occurs around coral reefs and on the continental shelf. Maximum size is about 60 cm in length.

Most workers, such as Rosenblatt & Hoese (1968), regard the Indo-Pacific genus Parupeneus to be distinct from the New World Pseudupeneus. However, until recently, no thorough revision had been undertaken for the various genera in the Mullidae and names in the group have been changed frequently with little scientific documentation, making them difficult to trace in the literature. Over the last decade or so much more work has been conducted on the family. J. Randall and F. Uiblein have undertaken extensive study of the group, describing new species, updating accounts of existing species and publishing new synonymies in a variety of research papers and books.

Randall (2004) revised the genus Parupeneus with the addition of two sepcies, and Randall & Heemstra (2009) describe an additional three species from the western Indian Ocean. Several species of Upeneus have been described in recent years (Randal & Kulbicki 2006; Uiblein & Heemstra 2010, 2011). Uiblein has described new species of Upeneus and revised many other species through a series of publications, focusing primarily on the Indian Ocean (Uiblein & Heemstra 2010, 2011, Uiblein & McGrouther 2012, Uiblein & Gledhill 2014, Uiblein & Gouws 2014, Uiblein et al. 2017). However a complete revsion of Upeneus remains to be done. Uiblein (2011) also reviewed the western Indian Ocean species of Mulloidichthys. Ben-Tuvia (1986) reviewed Upeneichthys, recognising only one valid species of the four previously described, Upeneichthys lineatus. However Hutchins (1990) described Upeneichthys stotti and recognised three sub-species of U. lineatus which Kim (2002) elevated to species level following a detailed anatomical study of the Mullidae. Red Sea species have been treated by Ben-Tuvia & Kissil (1988) and most Australian species are dealt with by Randall (2001) and the various publications of Randall and Uiblein mentioned above.

The identity of the species recorded as Upeneus taeniopterus Cuvier, 1829 in McCulloch (1929) is unclear. Gloerfelt-Tarp & Kailola (1984) recorded Parupeneus rubescens from northern Australia based on a voucher from Indonesia, but the voucher specimen has subsequently been identified by Randall (2004) as Parupeneus biaculeatus. At present, P. biaculeatus has not been recorded from Australia, but it is likely that it will found in northern Australia.


General References

Ben-Tuvia, A. 1986. Taxonomic status of Upeneichthys lineatus (Bloch) in Australian and New Zealand waters. pp. 590-594 figs 1-2 in Uyeno, T., Arai, R., Taniuchi, T. & Matsuura, K. (eds). Indo-Pacific Fish Biology. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Indo-Pacific Fishes. Tokyo : Ichthyological Society of Japan 985 pp.

Ben-Tuvia, A. & Kissil, G.W. 1988. Fishes of the family Mullidae in the Red Sea, with a key to the species in the Red sea and the eastern Mediterranean. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J.L.B. Smith Institute, Grahamstown 52: 1-16 figs 1-14

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp.

Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. 2006. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. [1264]

Hutchins, J.B. 1990. Description of a new species of mullid fish from south-western Australia, with comments on Upeneichthys lineatus. Records of the Western Australian Museum 14(4): 483-493 figs 1-4

Kim, B.-J. 2002. Comparative anatomy and phylogeny of the family Mullidae (Teleostei: Perciformes). Memoirs of the Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University 49(1): 1-74

McCulloch, A.R. 1929. A check-list of the fishes recorded from Australia. Part II. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 5: 145–329

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Nelson, J.S., Grande, T.C. & Wilson, M.V.H. 2016. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons 5, 752 pp.

Randall, J.E. 2001. Mullidae. pp. 3175-3200 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Randall, J.E. 2004. Revision of the goatfish genus Parupeneus (Perciformes: Mullidae), with descriptions of two new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 36: 1-64 pls 1-16

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E. & Heemstra, E 2009. Three new goatfishes of the genus Parupeneus from the Western Indian Ocean, with resurrection of P. seychellensis. Smithiana, Publications in Aquatic Biodiversity, Bulletin 10: 37-50

Randall, J.E. & Kulbicki, M. 2006. A review of the goatfishes of the genus Upeneus (Perciformes: Mullidae) from New Caledonia and the Chesterfield Bank, with a new species and four new records. Zoological Studies 45(3): 298-307

Rosenblatt, R.H. & Hoese, D.F. 1968. Sexual dimorphism in the dentition of Pseudupeneus, and its bearing on the generic classification of the Mullidae. Copeia 1968(1): 175-176

Uiblein, F, Gledhill, D.C., Pavlov, D.A., Hoang, T.A. & Shaheen, S. 2019. Three new goatfishes of the genus Upeneus (Mullidae) from the Indo-Pacific, with a redescription of colour patterns in U. margarethae. Zootaxa 4683(2): 151–196

Uiblein, F., Gledhill, D.C. & Peristiwady, T. 2017. Two new goatfishes of the genus Upeneus (Mullidae) from Australia and Indonesia. Zootaxa 4318(2): 295-311

Uiblein, F., Hoang, T.A., Alama, U., Causse, R., Chacate, O.E., Faime, Garibay, S. & Matiku, P. 2018. A new species and new records of goatfishes of the genus Parupeneus (Mullidae) from the Indian Ocean, with updated occurrence information for P. jansenii in the Western Pacific. Cybium 42(3): 229-256

Uiblein, F. & Gledhill, D.C. 2014. A new goatfish of the genus Upeneus (Mullidae) from Australia and Vanuatu, with inter- and intraspecific comparisons. Marine Biology Research [Published online 11 Dec 2014]

Uiblein, F. & Gouws, G. 2014. A new goatfish species of the genus Upeneus (Mullidae) based on molecular and morphological screening and subsequent taxonomic analysis. Marine Biology Research 10(7): 655-681

Uiblein, F. & Heemstra, P.C. 2010. A taxonomic review of the western Indian Ocean goatfishes of the genus Upeneus (Family Mullidae), with descriptions of four new species. Smithiana, Publications in Aquatic Biodiversity, Bulletin 11: 35-71

Uiblein, F. & Heemstra, P.C. 2011. Description of a new goatfish species, Upeneus randalli n. sp. (Mullidae), from the Persian Gulf, with remarks and identification keys for the genus Upeneus. Scientia Marina 75(3): 585-594

Uiblein, F. and McGrouther, M. 2012. A new deep-water goatfish of the genus Upeneus (Mullidae) from northern Australia and the Philippines, with a taxonomic account of U. subvittatus and remarks on U. mascareinsis. Zootaxa 3550: 61-70

Whitley, G.P. 1941. Ichthyological notes and illustrations. The Australian Zoologist 10(1): 1-50 figs 1-32 pls 1-2 [fig. 22]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
18-Aug-2021 MULLIDAE 01-Nov-2019 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese Dr Matthew Lockett
23-Feb-2015 MULLIDAE 09-Feb-2015 MODIFIED Dr Doug Hoese Dr Matthew Lockett (AM)
17-Dec-2012 17-Dec-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)