Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Serranidae
(Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets) > Epinephelinae
Etymology: Alphestes: Greek, alphestes, -oy = a kind of fish (Ref. 45335). More on author: Bloch.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; reef-associated; non-migratory; depth range 2 - 30 m (Ref. 9710). Tropical; 32°N - 27°S, 86°W - 32°W (Ref. 5222)
Western Atlantic: Bermuda, south Florida (USA), Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, Cuba, West Indies, Panama, Venezuela, and southward to the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Alphestes afer has recently been re-discovered at São Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea of the Eastern Atlantic.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 18.0, range 18 - 18.4 cm
Max length : 33.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5222)
soft rays: 9 - 10. Diagnosis: Body depth is slightly less than head length, depth contained 2.4-3.1 (2.9) in standard length; caudal peduncle depth 7.0-9.0 (8.5) times in SL; eye diameter greater than or equal to snout length and 8.1-15.0 (13) times in SL; snout length 10.1-16.0 (16.0) times in SL; preopercle rounded, posterior edge serrate, with a large antrorse spine at the angle directed downward and forward and usually covered with skin. Gill rakers 5-8 (7) on upper limb, 14-17 (16) on lower limb, 19-25 (23) total, including rudiments. Dorsal fin with XI spines and 17 to 20 (18) soft rays, anal fin with III spines and 9, rarely 10 (10) soft rays; pectoral fins with 16 - 18 (17) rays; caudal fin rounded, with 15 branched rays. Scales are smooth. Lateral-line scales 49-66; lateral scale series 68 – 88 (76). Color in life; head, body, and median fins olivaceous or light brown, irregularly blotched and barred with dark brown. Some individuals are densely spotted with orange; head, body, and all fins often with scattered white spots; body sometimes covered with scattered small black dots; pectoral fins may be orange or yellow with faint dark reticulations (Ref. 57865); Color in market: almost similar to color in life but general body color may fade to a pale drab cream, also spots and reticulations may fade (Ref. 89707).
A solitary species (Ref. 26340) occurring in seagrass habitats. Sedentary during the day, hiding in crevices or lying among seaweed, sometimes partly covering itself with sand while lying on its side. Nocturnal feeders of benthic crustaceans. Estimated eggs per fish is from 157512 to 223706 (Ref. 29). Small, colorful group; a sequential hermaphrodite (Ref. 26938). Has been traded as an aquarium fish at Ceará, Brazil (Ref. 49392).
Protogyny is unconfirmed for this species (Ref. 103751).
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. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 118484)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 30303)
Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 25.6 - 28.1, mean 27.5 °C (based on 668 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.6250 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01148 (0.00565 - 0.02332), b=3.05 (2.89 - 3.21), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.6 ±0.5 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Fec=150,000-220,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (33 of 100) .