Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Serranidae
(Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets) > Epinephelinae
Etymology: Epinephelus: Greek, epinephelos = cloudy (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; reef-associated; non-migratory; depth range 80 - 370 m (Ref. 5222). Tropical, preferred 28°C (Ref. 107945); 31°N - 33°S, 30°E - 158°W (Ref. 5222)
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the central Pacific. Epinephelus poecilonotus, Epinephelus radiatus, and Epinephelus tuamotoensis are sometimes referred to as this species.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 90.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2871); common length : 60.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9137); max. published weight: 6.7 kg (Ref. 40637)
soft rays: 7 - 8. Distinguished by the following characteristics: head and body tan, with dark brown bands: bifurcate band that begins at rear edge of eye, upper branch extending to a dark brown saddle blotch on the nape just in front of dorsal fin, lower branch running to lower opercular spine and continuing on body as midlateral band that bifurcates above the pectoral fin, upper branch of this band running to a dark blotch at the base of 3rd to 7th dorsal fin rays; dark band from the upper edge of the operculum to base of 5th to 9th dorsal fin spines; narrow band from lower edge of eye to pectoral fin base, continued as broken band along lower part of body and curving up to the dorsal part of peduncle; broad band from maxillary groove to posterior end of interopercle; small dark brown spots often present in the pale areas between bands; depth of body contained 2.8-3.1 times in SL; head length 2.3-2.5 times in SL; flat to moderately convex interorbital area, dorsal head profile slightly convex; shallow indentation on preopercle just above the enlarged serrae at the angle; upper edge of operculum almost straight; maxilla reaches to or past vertical at rear edge of eye; 2 rows of teeth on midlateral part of lower jaw (Ref. 89707).
Found in deep waters from 80-370 m on slopes of islands, sea mounts or continental shelves. Feeds on benthic fishes and large invertebrates (Ref. 89707). Considered rare in Tahiti but quite common in atolls (Ref. 4821). The species is easily confused with E. poecilonotus, E. radiatus, or E. tuamotuensis, three closely related deep-water groupers. Known to be ciguatoxic at Mauritius. Uncommon in local markets (probably due to it deep-water habitat).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall, 1993. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 5222)
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01288 (0.00795 - 0.02088), b=3.04 (2.91 - 3.17), based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.0 ±0.65 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (43 of 100) .