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 4 - 300 m (Ref. 11888). Tropical; 37°N - 34°S, 28°E - 169°W (Ref. 5222)
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 28.0, range 23 - 31 cm
Max length : 75.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4787); common length : 50.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5450); max. published weight: 7.0 kg (Ref. 4787); max. reported age: 29 years (Ref. 42001)
soft rays: 8. Live color whitish, with small dark brown spots on head, body, and fins except ventrally on head, thorax, and lower abdomen. Can assume a transient color phase of 3-4 rows of very large round dark spots on top of the small-spot pattern. 96-125 scales in longitudinal series. Pyloric caeca 26-52 (Ref. 04787); characterized further by having ctenoid body scales, except cycloid scales on nape, thorax, parts of ventral abdomen; body with auxiliary scales; greatest depth of body 2.8-3.3 in SL; truncate to slightly emarginate caudal fin; pelvic fins 1.7-2.4 in head length (Ref. 90102); interorbital slightly convex; preopercle angle rounded, 4-7 enlarged serrae at angle below a slight notch; upper edge of operculum straight; posterior nostril not noticeably larger than anterior nostril; maxilla reaches about to vertical at rear edge of eye; scaly maxilla, low step on posterior part of ventral edge; 2-4 rows of teeth in midlateral part of lower jaw, inner ones about twice the size of outer teeth (Ref. 089707).
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to Natal, South Africa and eastward to the western Pacific, north to southern Japan, south to New Caledonia. Records from Persian Gulf are apparently misidentifications of Epinephelus polylepis. Not verified from the Comoros, continental shelf between Oman and Cambodia, Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, and Australia.
Found over a wide range of habitats like seagrass beds and outer reef slopes (Ref. 5213); in the South China Sea, it is also found on mud bottoms. Feeds on small fishes and crustaceans (mainly stomatopods and crabs). Sexual transition from female to male occurs between 35-45 cm, but not all females change sex. Forms spawning aggregations (Ref. 55367). E. chlorostigma is closely related and very similar to E. polylepis and E. gabriellae which seem to replace it in the northwestern Indian Ocean. Solitary (Ref 90102).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Sex change occurs at length of 46.4 cm TL and 3 years of age (Ref. 55367). Also Ref. 6976.
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. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
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=0.01000 (0.00606 - 0.01650), b=3.03 (2.89 - 3.17), based on LWR estimates for species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.0 ±0.67 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.17-0.19; tmax=29).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate vulnerability (38 of 100) .