Taxon profile


Orange Rock Cod
Cephalopholis spiloparaea (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 spiloparaeus Valenciennes, 1828
Cephalopholis spiloparae (Valenciennes, 1828)

Other names

= Orange-red Pigmy Grouper

Least Concern LC


Body depth distinctly less than head length, depth contained 2.6 to 3.2 times in standard length (for fish 9 to 17 cm standard length), Head length contained 2.3 to 2.5 times in standard length; eye large, its diameter about twice depth of preorbital; interorbital area flat; preopercle rounded, very finely serrate, with a shallow notch, the lower edge fleshy; subopercle and interopercle smooth or with minute serrae; maxilla scaly, reaching to or well beyond vertical at rear edge of eye. Gill rakers 7 to 9 on upper limb, 14 to 16 on lower limb. Dorsal fin with IX spines and 14 to 16 rays; anal fin with III spines and 9 rays; pectoral-fin rays 17 to 19, rarely 19; pectoral fins clearly longer than pelvic fins, pectoral-fin length contained 1.3 to 1.6 times in head length; pelvic fins not reaching anus, their length contained 1.9 to 2.2 times in head length; caudal fin rounded. Lateral-body scales ctenoid, without auxiliary scales; lateral-line scales 47 to 53; lateral-scale series 84 to 103.
Colour: Pale reddish orange, mottled and blotched with dark red or brownish red; faint pale spots usually present on head, body, and median fins; caudal fin usually coloured like the body (but distinctly yellowish in some fish from the Comoro Islands) and with a bluish white submarginal band at corners of fin, becoming narrow and marginal (or even disappearing) at centre of fin; ventral margin of soft portion of anal fin (and to lesser extent the dorsal fin) bluish, usually persisting as dusky in preserved specimens; some fish with about 8 faint dark saddle blotches at base of dorsal fin and another on front of caudal peduncle.


Indo-Pacific from Pinda, Mozambique (15ºS) to French Polynesia and the Pitcairn Group; in the western Pacific, C. spiloparaea ranges from the Ryukyu Islands of Japan to Heron Island at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. Except for the specimens collected at Pinda, this species is known only from insular localities.


Perhaps the most common species of grouper on Indo-Pacific coral reefs below 40 m; specimens have been collected in depths of 15 to 108 m. It appears that nothing is known of the biology of this species.


Maximum total length 22 cm.

Interchangeable taxa

C. spiloparaea is similar to C. aurantia and has often been misidentified as C. aurantia (or as C. analis, a junior synonym of C. aurantia). These two species differ in colour (C. aurantia is generally orange-yellow or golden, with red to orange dots on head and dorsally on body), and the pelvic fins of C. aurantia are longer, usually reaching the anus, their length 1.6 to 2.0 times in head length.


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 [6455]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/5357]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Cephalopholis spiloparaea (Valenciennes, 1828)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132825]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Cephalopholis spiloparaea (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 spiloparaea (Valenciennes, 1828)]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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