a box of mixed reef fish

A box of mixed reef fish

The sea was a bit choppy in the morning but settled down as the day progressed. Matt’s team did well with a box of mixed reef fish. Other than maori wrasse, flathead, trevally, swwep and bonito, note the red goatfish.

Goatfish are found on rocky reefs and sand patches among reefs from 5-100m depth. They feed on the bottom using their two sensitive chin barbels to dig into the sediment and locate food items.

Small goatfish forage on the bottom in loose schools, hunting for invertebrates such as small crustaceans and worms. In contrast, large individuals (20-40cm in length) also feed on small fishes. Divers have reported seeing adult goatfish hunting in packs, herding prey fishes such as triplefins so they can be more easily caught.

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