This is a school of Yellow Goatfish. Goatfish are common throughout the Caribbean. Note the bright yellow tails and single yellow body stripes of these fish. Goatfish get their name from their "beards." Goatfish have a pair of "whiskers" called barbels that hang down from their chins. These barbels are narrow fleshy limbs, and resemble the "whiskers" of catfish. Goatfish use their barbels to dig in the sand for food. When Goatfish aren't eating, they swim in small schools above the reef. They swim to areas of sand or rubble near the reef to hunt for small worms or other invertebrates. Note the clouds of sand these Goatfish are stirring up as they dig in the sand with their barbels. You can see one of the two barbels on the left-most fish in this picture.
I have seen Yellow Goatfish on many different reefs, including reefs near Bimini, Bonaire, and Cayman Brac. I've seen Yellow Goatfish at a wide range of depths, from 20 feet deep near the top of a reef to 70 feet deep along the outer reef wall.
This photograph was taken by photographer Doug Bronski. Doug is a regular contributor to ReefNews.