Goatfish / Red Mullet Family
Indian Goatfish [Mullet; Family Mullidae]

Goatfish are a family of tropical and temperate marine fish. Often called "Mullet", they are a very popular eating fish in Western and Mediterranean Europe, but are little known in North America. Confusingly, they are not related to the Mullet Family.

More on Varieties of Fish (large page).


Striped Red Mullet   -   [Mullus surmuletus also Mullus barbatus]
Striped Red Mullet

These Goatfish are found in temperate and sub tropical waters along the Atlantic coast of Europe, in the Mediteranean, along the northwest coast of Africa and also in the Black Sea. These are the "Red Mullet" called for in European cookbooks, but you're unlikely to find any in North America. They can grow to 15 inches and 2 pounds but are usually marketed at between 2-1/2 and 8 ounces. Red list status: Not Evaluated.   Details and Cooking.   Photo by Hans Hillewaert distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5.

Mexican Goatfish   -   [Mulloidichthys dentatus]
Whole Goatfish

This Eastern Pacific Goatfish is found from Southern California to Peru, but is rare north of the southern tip of Baja and south of Panama. The photo specimen is in its night time colors, during the day it is white with yellow stripes. It is often marketed in its red form, which can be somewhat blotchy. Note that the barbels responsible for the name "goatfish" can be tucked in and may not be visible. These fish can grow to 12 inches but the photo specimen was 11-1/2 inches long and weighed 1l-1/4 ounces. It was purchased from a Philippine market in Los Angeles at 2014 US $7.99 per pound, Labeled "Red Weke / Mexican Goatfish". Red list status: LC (Least Concern).   Details and Cooking.

Indian Goatfish / Red Mullet   -   [Yellow Spot Goatfish, Parupeneus indicus]
Indian Goatfish

This tropical Indo/Pacific Goatfish is found from the east coast of Africa to the southwest coast of Mexico and as far south as the northern coast of Australia. It adopts a number of color schemes but is often marketd in its red form as "Red Mullet". All have the round dark spot at the tail and a large yellow spot at the lateral line between the two dorsal fins - but in the red form that spot is only faintly visible.

This is a supurb eating fish, but not common here in Southern Califronia. They can grow to nearly 18 inches but fish in my test batch were about 12-1/2 inches long weighing 1 pound. The photo specimen is a bit smaller because the idiots at the market had broken the tails of all the larger fish to fit them in a foam tray that was too small - an outrage that would never happen in the Philippine and Southeast Asian markets here. Red list status: Not Evaluated.   Details and Cooking.

Cinnabar Goatfish   -   [Cá Phèn Râu (Viet); Parupeneus heptacanthus]
Cinnabar Goatfish

This tropical Indo/Pacific Goatfish is found from the east coast of Africa across the Pacific to the west coast of Mexico and South America. Some are as far south as the south coast of Australia and the tip of Africa. It adopts a number of color schemes but is often marketed in its red form, which can be quite blotchy. Note that the barbels responsible for the name "goatfish" can be tucked in and may not be visible. These fish can grow to nearly 14 inches but the photo specimen was 10-3/4 inches long weighing 1l ounces. Red list status: Not Evaluated.   Details and Cooking.

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