Bluespotted Goatfish, Upeneichthys vlamingii Click to enlarge image
A Bluespotted Goatfish photographed at night at a depth of 2.5m to 3m, Second Valley, Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia, February 2010.David Muirhead stated that "This bluespotted goatfish was at approx 2.5 m to 3m, but we often see them (by day and night) at depths from 1m to 20+ m, ie they are not that choosy about depth or terrain, which varies from sandy expanses to algal areas to rocky reef." Image: David Muirhead
© David Muirhead

Fast Facts

  • Classification
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 42 cm in length.


The Bluespotted Goatfish is a shallow water species that is endemic to southern Australia.


The Bluespotted Goatfish has small eyes and a small mouth with fleshy lips. There are two dorsal fins. The first spinous dorsal fin is taller with a shorter base than the second soft-rayed fin. The chin barbels are about the same length as the head.

The colouration of this species varies with age, sex, time of day, and the fish's level of stimulation. Young fish and females are pale below and darker above. They have a black stripe along the side of their bodies. Adult males and females have blue spots on their body scales. At night and when excited, their bodies often become reddish.

Blue-spotted Goatfish, Upeneichthys vlamingii

Blue-spotted Goatfish photographed during a night dive at Mornington Pier, Victoria, December 2003.

Image: J. Sweeney
© J. Sweeney


It is found near shallow reefs and sandy areas in coastal waters and estuaries to depths of about 40 m.


The Bluespotted Goatfish occurs in temperate marine waters of southern Australia from southern New South Wales to southern Western Australia, including Tasmania.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Other behaviours and adaptations

It is commonly seen as a single individual or in schools.


  1. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  2. Kuiter, R.H. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.