"Classified as a “nuclear” species, goatfish truly play a leadership role. Other species are attracted to the substratum-disturbing foraging. And when several goatfish are involved in the fray, the groupies increase in number and diversity.
Single goatfish usually have up to three “follower” species at a time. Goatfish groups attract up to six follower species. These are primarily benthic carnivores. When critical mass is reached, the crowd includes herbivores that swoop in for the algae present in the cloud. There were no documented instances of herbivores following a single nuclear goatfish - they stated it only occurred in a group setting of eight or more goatfish.
The top five followers in the Brazilian study were puddingwife, coney, yellow jack, horse-eye jack and red parrotfish. I don’t ever recall (basically because I never really paid that much attention) seeing that particular mix of species hanging out with a goatfish. In the Keys I have seen them with yellowhead wrasse quite often. I’ll pay more attention now if it helps me get closer to a puddingwife. In my experience they are typically shy and difficult to approach, but the colors are terrific if you can get close enough to illuminate them."