Taxon profile


Golden Hind
Cephalopholis aurantia (Valenciennes, 1828)

kingdom Animalia - animals »  phylum Chordata - chordates »  class Actinopterygii - ray-finned fishes »  order Perciformes - perch-likes »  family Serranidae - sea basses and groupers »  genus Cephalopholis

Scientific synonyms

Serranus aurantius Valenciennes, 1828
Cephalopholis aurantius (Valenciennes, 1828)
Epinephelus aurantius (Valenciennes, 1828)
Serranus analis Valenciennes, 1828
Cephalopholis analis (Valenciennes, 1828)
Epinephelus analis (Valenciennes, 1828)
Bodianus indelebilis Fowler, 1904
Cephalopholis indelibilis (Fowler, 1904)
Epinephelus miltostigma Bleeker, 1873
Cephalopholis obtusaurus Evermann & Seale, 1907

Data Deficient DD


Body depth less than head length, depth contained 2.6 to 2.9 times in standard length (for fish 12 to 22 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.4 to 2.6 times in standard length; interorbital area flat; preopercle rounded, finely serrate, the lower edge fleshy; subopercle and interopercle serrate; maxilla scaly, reaching to or beyond vertical at rear edge of eye. Gill rakers 7 to 9 on upper limb, 14 to 17 on lower limb. Dorsal fin with IX spines and 14 to 16 rays, the membranes distinctly incised between the spines; anal fin with III spines and 9 (rarely 8) soft rays; pectoral-fin rays 17 to 19; pectoral fins distinctly longer than pelvic fins, pectoral-fin length contained 1.3 to 1.5 times in head length; pelvic fins reach to or slightly short of anus, their length contained 1.6 to 2.0 times in head length; caudal fin well rounded. Lateral-body scales ctenoid; lateral-line scales 47 to 53; lateral-scale series 94 to 121,
Colour: Pale orange-red to orange-yellow or golden with red or yellow dots on head, anterodorsally on body, and on base of dorsal fin. Posterior margin of caudal fin with a pale blue edge and black submarginal line; posterior parts of dorsal and anal fins often with a narrow pale blue edge.


South Africa and islands of the western Indian Ocean to the central Pacific and Japan. Except for a single specimen caught off the coast of Natal, South Africa, Heemstra and Randall (1993) know of no confirmed records from continental localities. The report of C. aurantia from east Africa (Morgans, 1982) is based on misidentifications of C. nigripinnis.


C. aurantia is a deep-water grouper usually caught in depths over 100 m. Specimens are rare in museums.


Maximum total length probably about 30 cm; the maximum size of 60 cm given by Heemstra and Randall (1984, 1986) is probably an exaggeration.

Interchangeable taxa

C. aurantia is similar to C. spiloparaea, which differs in colour (generally pale reddish, mottled and blotched with dark red or brownish red) and usually has shorter pelvic fins (not reaching anus, their length 1.9 to 2.2 times in head length). C. sonnerati differs in colour pattern and in having a greater body depth (2.3 to 2.7 times in standard length) and more numerous scales (lateral-line scales 66 to 80). Randall (1986, 1987a) recognized C. analis of the central and western Pacific as distinct from the closely related C. aurantia of the western Indian Ocean. Indian Ocean fish have a black submarginal line in the caudal fin and were thought to have more gill rakers and more rounded dorsal and anal fins than specimens from the Pacific. Examination of additional specimens, including a series of 4 fish from Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, has shown that the number of gill rakers and the shape of the dorsal and anal fins are not significantly different in these two populations. In view of the great similarity in the morphology and colour patterns of fish from the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Randall and Heemstra (1991) synonymized these two nominal species. The account of “Cephalopholis analis” by Heemstra and Randall (1984) in the FAO Species Identification Sheets for the Western Indian Ocean (Fischer and Bianchi, 1984) is a misidentification of C. spiloparaea.


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1993, Heemstra, P.C.; Randall, J.E., FAO species catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (Family Serranidae, Subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rock cod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date.
Author: Petr Čech

Links and literature

CH DE EN FR IT NL PR SP FishBase [6443]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/5337]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Cephalopholis aurantia (Valenciennes, 1828)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132725]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Cephalopholis aurantia (Valenciennes, 1828)]
Data retrieved on: 3 August 2018
CZ Hanel L., Plíštil J., Novák J. (2011): České názvy živočichů V. Ryby a rybovití obratlovci (Pisces). 7. Paprskoploutví (Actinopterygii) Kostnatí (Neopterygii) [Ropušnicotvaří (Scorpaeniformes) – ostnoploutví (Perciformes) – Percoidei], Národní muzeum (zoologické oddělení), Praha, 148 str. [as Cephalopholis aurantia (Valenciennes, 1828)]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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