Taxon profile


Black Guativere
Cephalopholis fulva (Linnaeus, 1758)

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

Labrus fulvus Linnaeus, 1758 o
Epinephelus fulvus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Epinephelus fulva (Linnaeus, 1758)
Cephalopholis fulvus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Holocentrus auratus Bloch, 1790
Serranus carauna Valenciennes, 1828
Bodianus guativere Bloch & Schneider, 1801
Serranus ouatalibi Valenciennes, 1828
Perca punctata Linnaeus, 1758
Gymnocephalus ruber Bloch & Schneider, 1801

Other names

= Butterfish
= Coney
= Deady
= Lemon-yellow Butterfish
= Negrofish
= Niggerfish
= Red Guativere
= Rockhind

Least Concern LC


Cephalopholis fulva - Black Guativere

Author: Petr Adamec


Body depth distinctly less than head length, depth contained 2.6 to 2.9 times in standard length (for fish 10 to 25 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.3 to 2.5 times in standard length; interorbital area flat; preopercle rounded, with a shallow notch above the angle; upper limb finely serrate, the serrae at angle moderately enlarged, the lower edge fleshy; subopercle and interopercle smooth; nostrils small, subequal; maxilla scaly, reaching to or beyond vertical at rear edge of eye. Gill rakers 7 to 9 on upper limb, 16 to 18 on lower limb, 23 to 27 total. Dorsal fin with IX spines and 14 to 16 rays, the membranes distinctly notched between the spines: anal fin with III spines and 9 rays: pectoral-fin rays 17 to 19; caudal fin convex posteriorly, but the corners are angular. Lateral-body scales ctenoid; lateral-line scales 46 to 54; lateral-scale series 90 to 97.
Colour: There are three colour phases in this species: 1) red (deep water), 2) orange-brown or bicoloured with the upper part of the fish [above a line from tip of snout to posterior dorsal-fin rays] of normal colour and the lower part abruptly pale (shallow water) and 3) xanthic (a yellow morph that may be found in shallow or deep water). In the first two colour morphs, the head and body is covered with small dark-edged pale blue spots; in the xanthic form, these spots are fewer and confined to the head and front part of the body. In all three morphs, there are two small black spots on top of caudal peduncle and another two at tip of lower jaw. The bicoloured pattern of the shallow-water morph is apparently an excitement pattern, and it can be turned on or off in a few seconds. The night pattern is generally pale, with irregular vertical bars and a dark tuning-fork mark on interorbital region like that of Epinephefus striatus. The nuptial male has a horizontal dark brown band from lower end of pectoral-fin base to end of caudal fin, margin of soft dorsal fin black, dark stripe through eye, and a white spot on body near middle of dorsal-fin base.


Tropical and subtropical western Atlantic from Bermuda and South Carolina to southern Brazil, including Atol das Rocas.


C. fulva prefers coral reefs and clear water. In the Gulf of Mexico it occurs on deep-water reefs (at a depth of at least 45 m) where the water is clear, but it is not seen on the more silty shallow-water reefs. At Bermuda and in the West Indies, the species is common in shallow water, but it usually hides in caves or under ledges during the day. C. fulva is a protogynous species: females mature at 16 cm total length and transform to males at a length of about 20 cm. Males are territorial. Spawning occurs just before sunset over several days, and a male will spawn daily with each of the several females in his harem (P.L. Colin, personal communication). The spawning season begins at Bermuda in May and lasts until at least early August; the spawning season in the Bahamas is December-January, while in Jamaican waters the peak spawning period is from January to March. The eggs are typical grouper eggs, 0.95 mm in diameter, with a single oil globule. Fecundity estimates range from about 150 000 to 282 000 eggs per female. A few specimens that appear to be hybrids of C. fulva and Paranthias furcifer have been described by C.L. Smith (1966) and Thompson and Munro (1978). This species feeds mainly on small fishes (46% by volume) and crustaceans. It occasionally follows morays and snake eels in order to feed on the normally inaccessible small fishes and invertebrates that are flushed from the interstices of the reef by the foraging eels.


Maximum total length 33 cm (37 cm at Bermuda).


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 [8816]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/5343]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Cephalopholis fulva (Linnaeus, 1758)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132806]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Cephalopholis fulva (Linnaeus, 1758)]
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 fulva (Linnaeus, 1758)]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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