Taxon profile


Pacific Graysby
Cephalopholis panamensis (Steindachner, 1877)

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 panamensis Steindachner, 1877
Petrometopon panamensis (Steindachner, 1877)
Epinephelus panamensis (Steindachner, 1877)

Least Concern LC


Body depth distinctly less than head length, depth contained 2.7 to 2.9 times in standard length (for fish 12 to 21 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.3 to 2.5 times in standard length; preopercle rounded, finely serrate; nostrils subequal. Gill rakers 16 to 19 (total). Dorsal fin with IX spines and 14 or 15 rays, the third spine longest, the membranes incised between the anterior spines; anal fin with III spines and 8 rays; pectoral-fin rays 17 or 18; pectoral fins clearly longer than pelvic fins, pectoral-fin length contained 1.5 to 1.7 times in head length; caudal fin rounded. Lateral-body scales strongly ctenoid; lateral-line scales 48 or 49; lateral-scale series 80 to 83.
Colour: Head and body dark brownish, the body with 8 to 10 dark bars which are wider and more distinct ventrally; head, including maxilla and upper lip, with close-set reddish orange spots forming a bluish green reticulum; adults with a large dark brown spot immediately behind the eye; median fins edged with blue.


Eastern Pacific from Gulf of California to Ecuador and the Galapagos.


Prefers coral reefs from shallow water to depths of 76 m. A shy, secretive species common along rocky shores of the Gulf of California.


Maximum total length 30 cm.


Lopez Lemus (1988) claims to have found electrophoretic data that indicate Epinephelus labriformis is more closely related to C. panamensis than to E. analogus or E. acanthistius. He assumes incorrectly that C. panamensis and E. labriformis are “subtropical” species with distributions that differ in some way from that of “the most tropical species,” E. acanthistius. In fact, the distributions of all three species extend from the Gulf of California to Peru. The biogeographic analysis of Lopez Lemus is further confused when he assumes that the E. analogus species group “is completely of Indo-Pacific origin” and does not even mention C.L. Smith’s (1971) determination that E. analogus is most closely related to E. adscensionis of the Atlantic Ocean. See information under "Taxonomy" in Epinephelus labriformis profile for further discussion of this electrophoretic work of Lopez Lemus.


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 [8761]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/5352]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Cephalopholis panamensis (Steindachner, 1877)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132733]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Cephalopholis panamensis (Steindachner, 1877)]
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 panamensis (Steindachner, 1877)]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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