Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Serranidae
(Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets) > Epinephelinae
Etymology: Plectropomus: Greek,plektron = anything to strike with, spur + Greek, poma = cover, operculum (Ref. 45335).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 20 m (Ref. 9710). Tropical, preferred 28°C (Ref. 107945); 31°N - 25°S, 32°E - 169°W (Ref. 5222)
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to the Phoenix Islands and Samoa, north to Ryukyu Islands, south to Australia.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 41 - ? cm
Max length : 80.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 90102)
(total): 7 - 8;
soft rays: 8. Distinguished by the following characteristics: Has truncate tail with a narrow white posterior margin (Ref. 37816); further characterized by whitish to pale grey color; head, body and fins with numerous small, dark-edged blue spots; frequently with 4-5 dark blotches forming saddles on back; large canine teeth at front of jaws; 1-4 large canines on side of lower jaw; elongate body, greatest depth 2.9-3.9 in SL; truncate to slightly emarginate caudal fin; pectoral fins 2.0-2.3 in head length; pelvic fins 2.0-2.4 in head length (Ref. 90102); snout length 2.8-3.6 times in head length; suborbital depth 5.6-10 times in HL; flat interorbital area, with small, embedded scales; broadly rounded preopercle, with 3 large , ventrally directed spines along lower half; smooth interopercle and subopercle; 3 flat spines on opercle, upper and lower spines covered by skin; posterior and anterior nostrils subequal in size, set in shallow groove running forward from eye (Ref. 89707).
Adults inhabit lagoon and seaward reefs, in areas with rich coral growth. Most frequently encountered in channels along the reef front (Ref. 9710, 48635). Often a shy fish (Ref. 48635). Feed exclusively on fishes (Ref. 37816). Misidentified as P. leopardus in Ref. 2928 (Johannes, pers. comm.). This study reports of a declining stock in Palau due to fishing. Before actual spawning around full moon, the species aggregates along channels and are responsive to baited hooks, making them vulnerable to fishermen; upward movements of some to take baited hooks presumably mistaken for courtship or spawning behavior. Large individuals may be ciguatoxic in certain areas (Ref. 37816). In the Hong Kong live fish markets (Ref. 27253).
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. 4690)
Fisheries: minor commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5078 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01096 (0.00530 - 0.02268), b=3.04 (2.88 - 3.20), based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.5 ±0.80 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (57 of 100) .