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 8 - 300 m (Ref. 27000), usually ? - 50 m (Ref. 5222). Subtropical; 54°N - 43°S, 65°W - 58°E (Ref. 5222)
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 47.0  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 150 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12382); max. published weight: 60.0 kg (Ref. 5222); max. reported age: 50 years (Ref. 12382)
soft rays: 8 - 9. Diagnosis: head and body dark reddish brown or greyish dorsally, usually yellowish gold ventrally; irregular white, pale greenish yellow or silvery grey blotches usually visible on the body and head and mostly arranged in vertical series; more or less distinct black maxillary streak; dark brown median fins; distal edge of anal and caudal fins, often also pectoral fins, narrowly white; pelvic fins blackish distally; pectoral fins dark reddish brown or grey; margin of spinous dorsal fin and basal part of the paired fins often golden yellow; head length 2.3-2.5 in SL; convex interorbital area; rounded preopercle, finely serrate, serrae at angle slightly enlarged; smooth subopercle and interopercle; eye diameter greater than or subequal to interorbital width in fish 10-30 cm SL, less than interorbital in fish over 40 cm SL; posterior and anterior nostrils subequal or posterior nostril slightly larger; maxilla naked, reaching to or slightly past vertical at rear edge of eye; 2-4 rows of subequal teeth on midlateral part of lower jaw (Ref. 89707).
East and Southwest Atlantic and Western Indian Ocean: East Atlantic: throughout the Mediterranean Sea, and from the southern Bay of Biscaye to southern tip of Africa. Stray specimens reported from the British Isles, and eastern English Channel (Normandy, France; Ref. 92236). Southwest Atlantic: southeastern Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Western Indian Ocean: from tip of Africa to southern Mozambique and southern Madagascar. Reported from Oman and La Reunion I.
Adults prefer rocky bottoms (Ref. 5222), are solitary and territorial (Ref. 12382). Juveniles are found closer to shore (Ref. 48605) in rocky tidal pools (Ref. 48609). Enters brackish environments (Ref. 57293). Mainly feed on crabs and octopi; larger individuals feed on a greater proportion of fishes, the majority of which are reef-associated species (Ref. 6842). A protogynous hermaphrodite (Ref. 55367). Mature individuals form spawning aggregations (Ref. 55367). Utilized as a food fish (Ref. 171). Readily caught by anglers (Ref. 5222). Not adapted well in an aquarium (Ref. 12382).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
A monandric species (Ref. 55367). In Europe, sex reversal occurs when females are about 14-17 years of age and between 80 to 90 cm TL (Ref. 51466). From another study, sex change occurs at 88 cm TL and 12 years of age (Ref. 55367).
Protogynous hermaphrodite species, reaching its first sexual maturity as female at 5 years and becoming male after 10 years (some females remain so for some more years). Spawning happens during the summer.
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
Fisheries: highly commercial; gamefish: yes
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=0.01023 (0.00673 - 0.01555), b=3.06 (2.94 - 3.18), based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.4 ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.03-0.09; tmax=50; tm=5).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High to very high vulnerability (72 of 100) .