- Photo. (c) 2022 BSS/MCSS.
Dorsal spines: 8; Dorsal rays: 9; Anal spines: 1; Anal rays: 7.
Body moderately elongate. Mouth small, maxilla not reaching a vertical at front of orbit. Small conical teeth on both jaws, placed in one outer row and more irregularly behind
in the front of jaws, and in a single row more posteriorly. Anterior nostril a small vertically elliptical opening. Posterior nostril a narrow slit covered by a membrane next
to edge of upper orbit. Single opercular spine at posterior edge of operculum at level of about mid of eye. Scales very finely ctenoid; head fully scaled.
Colour. Body, head and fins mostly yellow, becoming slightly orange dorsally and anteriorly on freshly collected fish. Lower cheeks and mouth whitish. Barbels white. Eyes with
red iris. 2 to 5 blue or pale blue longitudinal body stripes. The most prominent, reaching from behind the upper orbital margin to below rear end of soft dorsal fin base.
Dorsal fin yellow. Pectoral fins hyaline. Pelvic and anal fins sometimes whitish-yellow at bases and distal-most areas. Caudal fin with some light red patches from origin to
Maturity: Unknown. Max length : 24.5 cm SL.
Habitat and Ecology:
Inhabits rocky and coral reefs and submarine caves (depth 5-19 m). Mimics and aggregates with Lutjanus kasmira during the day. Nocturnal carnivore, disperses at night to feed.
This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. Yet to be documented in artisanal catch.
Photo courtesy Eleanor Brighton and Chris Mason-Parker (c) 2022 Blue Safari Seychelles/Marine Conservation Society, Seychelles. Photograph taken at Alphonse group 2022.
The Western Indian Ocean M. ayliffe differs from its Pacific sister species M. mimicus in number of lateral-line scales, several morphometric features,
the position of the conspicuous bluish dorso-midlateral body stripe in relation to the lateral line, and the width of the yellow mid-lateral body stripe.
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. (Eds.) (2022). FishBase. https://www.fishbase.se/summary/Mulloidichthys-ayliffe.html (24/07/22).
Uiblein, F., 2011. Taxonomic review of Western Indian Ocean goatfishes of the genus Mulloidichthys (Family Mullidae), with description of a new species and remarks on colour
and body form variation in Indo-West Pacific species. Smithiana Bulletin 13:51-73.
Uiblein, F. et al. (2020). Mulloidichthys ayliffe. The IUCN Red List 2020: https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-2.RLTS.T199656A151597394.en. (24/07/22).
Nevill, J.E.G., Brighton, E. & Mason-Parker, C. (2022). Mulloidichthys ayliffe, Indian mimic goatfish. Seychelles Seatizens. www.seatizens.sc. https://seatizens.sc/species/mulloidichthys-ayliffe-uiblein-2011/