Taxon profile


Blue-lined Rock Cod
Cephalopholis formosa (Shaw, 1812)

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

Sciaena formosa Shaw, 1812

Other names

= Blue-lined Rock-cod
= Blue-lined Rockcod
= Bluelined Hind
= Bluelined Rockcod

Least Concern LC


Body depth contained 2.5 to 2.9 times in standard length (for fish 10 to 26 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.4 to 2.6 times in standard length; preorbital depth 3.6 to 4.3% of standard length, more than half maxilla width; interorbital area convex; preopercle rounded, finely serrate, the lower edge fleshy; subopercle and interopercle smooth; maxilla naked, reaching to or just past vertical at rear edge of eye. Gill rakers 8 to 10 on upper limb, 14 to 18 on lower limb. Dorsal fin with IX spines and 15 to 17 rays, the membranes indented between the spines; anal fin with III spines and 8 (rarely 7) rays, the second spine 12.0 to 14.6% of standard length, not reaching past tip of third spine; pectoral-fin rays 16 to 18; pectoral fins usually longer than pelvic fins, pectoral-fin length contained 1.5 to 1.8 times in head length; pelvic fins reaching about to anus, their length contained 1.6 to 2.0 times in head length; caudal fin well rounded.Body scales ctenoid, without auxiliary scales; lateral-line scales 47 to 51; lateral-scale series 91 to 109.
Colour: Dark brown to yellowish brown, with slightly irregular dark blue lines on head, body, and fins (those on body and fins sometimes absent); snout, lips, and ventral part of head and chest with small dark blue spots (blue markings become black in preservative, and may be lost on some specimens, especially older museum material).


Like C. boenak, the distribution of C. formosa is primarily continental, and it seems to avoid atolls or oceanic islands. Reports of “Epinephelus formosus” from Madagascar (Sauvage, 1875), or Reunion and Mauritius (Bleeker, 1875) are probably based on misidentifications of Cephalopholis polleni. It is known from Sri Lanka, and the Lakshadweep Islands; but there are no other reports from islands in the western Indian Ocean. It occurs from western India to Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, China, Taiwan, Japan (Honshu), and northern Australia.


Also like C. boenak, the preferred habitat of C. formosa is shallow dead or silty reefs. And this may account for the primarily continental distributions of these two species.


Maximum total length 34 cm.

Interchangeable taxa

Following Boulenger (1895) most authors have confused C. formosa with C. boenak (e.g., Fowler and Bean, 1930; Munro, 1955; Katayama, 1988; Talwar and Kacker, 1984; Shen, 1984). These two species are distinguished in the account of C. boenak.


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 [6446]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/5342]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Cephalopholis formosa (Shaw, 1812)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132743]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Cephalopholis formosa (Shaw, 1812)]
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 formosa (Shaw, 1812)]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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