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; depth range 6 - 200 m (Ref. 2334). Tropical, preferred 28°C (Ref. 107945); 35°N - 33°S, 29°E - 180°E (Ref. 5222)
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and the Persian Gulf to Natal, South Africa and east to Fiji, north to Japan, south to the Arafura Sea (Ref. 9819) and northern Australia. Recently recorded from Tonga (Ref. 53797). Appears to be absent from Micronesia, Polynesia, and most islands of the western Indian Ocean. Often confused with Epinephelus chlorostigma.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 20.0, range 19 - ? cm
Max length : 47.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 27266); common length : 35.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5450); max. published weight: 1.4 kg (Ref. 27266); max. reported age: 15 years (Ref. 27352)
soft rays: 8. Characterized by grey to whitish color with numerous close-set orange to brown spots, becoming smaller and increase in number as growth increases; narrow white margin on tail; body scales ctenoid, cycloid scales on thorax and ventrally on abdomen; body with auxiliary scales; moderately elongate body, greatest depth 2.7-3.3 in SL; truncate or slightly emarginate caudal fin; pelvic fins 1.6-2.1 in head length (Ref. 90102).
Usually found in seagrass beds or on fine sediment bottoms near rocky reefs, dead coral, or alcyonarians (Ref. 5222), in shallow continental shelf waters (Ref. 27353). Juveniles are common at water depths to 80 m (Ref. 6390). Probably spawn during restricted periods and form aggregations when doing so (Ref. 27352). Eggs and early larvae are probably pelagic (Ref. 6390). Feed on fish and benthic invertebrates, primarily prawns and crabs (Ref. 4787, 27354).
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
Fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: commercial
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=0.01122 (0.00972 - 0.01295), b=3.04 (3.01 - 3.07), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.7 ±0.3 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.31; tm=2; tmax=25; Fec = 22,128).
Prior r = 0.56, 2 SD range = 0.31 - 1.02, log(r) = -0.58, SD log(r) = 0.3, Based on: 4 K, 1 tgen, 2 tmax, 2 Fec records
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (36 of 100) .