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Spotted goatfish
Pseudupeneus maculatus
(Bloch, 1793)

Body with a series of three large blackish blotches on the upper side, beneath the dorsal fins (P. maculatus). Color variable but usually pale, the scales of the back with reddish or yellowish brown edges and a central pale blue spot. Head with diagonal blue lines. Two barbels under the tip of the chin (P. maculatus barbel).
Size up to 30 cm.

Inhabits shallow waters to depths of 90 m, especially over sand and rock bottoms in reef areas. Feed on small invertebrates. Young juveniles often found on beds of sea grass. At cleaning stations, these goatfish often queue up to let themselves be cleaned by cleanerfish or -shrimps. The fish that is being cleaned shows a deep red color, while the other waiting show their normal pale pink color. When cleaned they assumed their normal pale pink color again. Probably this change of color serves as a signal to the cleaners to the cleaners when they can start and should stop again.

Common Florida, occasional Bahamas and Caribbean.

Spotted goatfish (Pseudupeneus maculatus)