Taxon profile


Epinephelus adscensionis (Osbeck, 1765)

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

Scientific synonyms

Trachinus adscensionis Osbeck, 1765
Epinephelis adscensionis (Osbeck, 1765)
Cerna adscensionis (Osbeck, 1765)
Epinephelus ascencionis (Osbeck, 1765)
Serranus ascensionis (Osbeck, 1765)
Epinephelus ascensionis (Osbeck, 1765)
Serranus aspersus Jenyns, 1840
Epinephelus aspersus (Jenyns, 1840)
Serranus capreolus Poey, 1860
Epinephelus capreolus (Poey, 1860)

Other names

= Deady
= Graysby
= Grouper
= Jack
= Rock Cod
= Rock Grouper
= Rock Hind

Least Concern LC


Body depth less than head length, depth contained 2.6 to 3.2 times in standard length (for fish 13 to 27 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.1 to 2.5 times in standard length; interorbital area fiat or slightly concave; preopercie evenly serrate, without salient angle; subopercie and interopercie smooth; nostrils subequal. Gill rakers 7 to 9 on upper limb, 16 to 19 on lower limb, total 23 to 28. Dorsal fin with XI spines and 16 to 18 rays, the fourth or fifth spine longest and the interspinous membranes distinctly incised; anal fin with III spines and 8 rays; pectoral-fin rays 18 to 20; pectoral fins longer than pelvic fins, pectoral-fin length contained 1.5 to 2.1 times in head length: pelvic-fin length contained 1.8 to 2.3 times in head length for fish 10 to 19 cm standard length, 2.2 to 2.7 times in head length for fish 20 to 38 cm standard length; rear margin of caudal fin convex. Lateral-body scales distinctly ctenoid, with auxiliary scales; lateral-line scales 48 to 53; lateral-scale series 92 to 108.
Colour: Head, body, and fins generally buff or pale greenish, covered with reddish brown spots and scattered pale blotches: usually 3 to 5 dark brown blotches (groups of dark spots) at base of dorsal fin and a blackish brown blotch on top of caudal peduncle (on some specimens, only the dark blotch at base of last dorsal-fin spines is apparent): rear edge of caudal fin with a row of dark brown spots forming a dark margin; small juveniles with fewer but larger dark spots on the head, body and fins.


A wide-ranging species known from Ascension and St. Helena Islands and in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts (one record), Bermuda, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean to southern Brazil. The dubious records of E. adscensionis from the Canary Islands, Cape Verde Islands, and South Africa (Barnard, 1927; Smith, 1949; C.L. Smith, 1971) were discussed by Heemstra (1991). This species was not reported by Dooley et al., (1985) in their extensive survey of the fish fauna of the Canary Islands. Wirtz (1992) published a photograph of E. adscensionis taken at the island of São Tome in the Gulf of Guinea.


E. adscensionis occur on rocky reefs in depths of 2 to 100 m; according to Randall (1967) they feed mainly on crabs (67%) and fishes (20%). At Ascension Island, rock hind include juvenile triggerfish (Melichthys niger) and young sea turtles in their diet (Lubbock, 1980). At St. Helena, E. adscensionis are common in shallow water and represent 90% of “groundfish” landings; large adults (over 50 cm) are taken regularly in 50 to 100 m, but are rare in shallow water (Edwards and Glass, 1987). Females are mature at 25 cm standard length; ripe females (28 to 36 cm standard length) were noted over a six-month period (January to June) at the Florida Middle Ground (Bullock and Smith, 1991).


In the western Atlantic/Caribbean area, the maximum total length is about 60 cm, with a maximum weight of 3 kg. Bullock and Smith (1991) give a weight/length relationship (combined sexes) for 79 Gulf of Mexico specimens as W = 5.28 x 10-8 L 2.905,where W (whole weight) is in kilogrammes and L (standard length) is in millimetre. According to Lubbock (1980), the rock hind at Ascension Island may attain a length of “about one metre.”


Serranus luridus Ranzani was listed as a synonym of E. adscensionis by Smith (1971), but neither the original description (Ranzani, 1842:20, no mention of dark spots) nor the illustration (pl. 8, fig. 1, showing a uniformly coloured fish with an emarginate caudal fin) fit E. adscensionis. The description and illustration fit E. morio better than any other species.


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 [14]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8435]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Epinephelus adscensionis (Osbeck, 1765)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132819]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Epinephelus adscensionis (Osbeck, 1765)]
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 Epinephelus adscensionis (Osbeck, 1765)]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

Contributions to BioLib

Help us to expand this encyclopedia! If you are logged in, you can add new subtaxa, vernacular and scientific names, texts, images or intertaxon relationships for this taxon.