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; brackish; reef-associated; depth range 4 - 100 m (Ref. 9710), usually ? - 50 m (Ref. 37816). Tropical; 29°N - 39°S, 24°E - 122°W (Ref. 5222)
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 129 - ? cm
Max length : 270 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5213); common length : 190 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5450); max. published weight: 400.0 kg (Ref. 26367)
soft rays: 8. Dorsal fin spines of large individuals increase in size from front to back. It is the largest of all coral reef dwelling bony fishes (Ref. 37816); overall dark grey color with variable amount of pale spots/blotches; cycloid scales on body; body with auxiliary scales; greatest depth of body 2.3-3.4 in SL; short pelvic fins, 23.0-2.7 in head length (Ref 90102); further characterized by having head length 2.2-2.7 times in SL; interorbital width 3.3-6.2 times in HL; flat to slightly convex interorbital area, convex dorsal head profile; subangular preopercle, finely serrate, the angle rounded; convex upper edge of operculum; eye diameter 5.8-14 in head length; subequal anterior and posterior nostrils; maxilla reaching past vertical at rear edge of eye; 2-3 rows of teeth on midlateral part of lower jaw increasing to 15-16 rows in fish of 177 cm SL; small or absent canine teeth at front of jaws (Ref. 89707).
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to Algoa Bay, South Africa and eastward to the Hawaiian and Pitcairn islands, north to southern Japan, south to Australia. Absence in the Persian Gulf is puzzling.
The largest bony fish found in coral reefs (Ref. 9710). Common in shallow waters. Found in caves or wrecks; also in estuaries. Individuals more than a meter long have been caught from shore and in harbors. Juveniles secretive in reefs and rarely seen (Ref. 48635). Benthopelagic and benthic (Ref. 58302). Feed on spiny lobsters, fishes, including small sharks and batoids, and juvenile sea turtles and crustaceans. In South African estuaries, the main prey item is the mud crab, Scylla serrata. Unconfirmed reports of fatal attacks on humans. Nearly wiped out in heavily fished areas (Ref. 9710). In the Hong Kong live fish markets (Ref. 27253). Large individuals may be ciguatoxic (Ref. 37816).
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.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Traumatogenic (Ref. 4690)
Fisheries: subsistence fisheries; aquaculture: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.0 ±0.60 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (85 of 100) .