Taxon profile


Areolate Grouper
Epinephelus areolatus (Forsskål, 1775)

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

Perca areolata Forsskål, 1775
Ephinephelus areolatus (Forsskål, 1775)
Serranus angularis Valenciennes, 1828
Epinephelus angularis (Valenciennes, 1828)
Serranus celebicus Bleeker, 1851
Epinephelus craspedurus Jordan & Richardson, 1910
Serranus glaucus Day, 1871
Bodianus melanurus Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817
Serranus waandersii Bleeker, 1859
Epinephelus waandersii Bleeker, 1859

Other names

= Areolate Rock Cod
= Areolated Grouper
= Flat-tail Cod
= Green-spotted Rock Cod
= Yellow-spotted Rock-cod

Least Concern LC


Body depth less than head length, depth contained 2.8 to 3.3 times in standard length (for fish 14 to 31 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.4 to 2.8 times in standard length: interorbital area convex; preopercle angular, with 2 to 7 enlarged serrae at the angle: upper edge of operculum straight or slightly convex; nostrils subequal; maxilla extending to below rear half of eye, the lower edge with a distinct step posteriorly; maxilla, lower jaw and gular area scaly; midlateral. part of lower jaw with 2 rows of teeth. Gill rakers 8 to 10 on upper limb, 14 to 16 on lower limb, total 23 to 25. Dorsal fin with XI spines and 15 to 17 rays, the third or fourth spine longest and subequal to longest ray, the interspinous membranes moderately incised; anal fin with III spines and 8 rays, the margin rounded or angular; pectoral-fin rays 17 to 19; pectoral fins longer than pelvic fins, pectoral-fin length contained 1.5 to 1.8 times in head length; pelvic-fin length contained 1.7 to 2.1 times in head length, reaching to or nearly to anus: caudal fin slightly convex in juveniles, truncate or slightly emarginate in adults. Lateral-body scales ctenoid; adults with auxiliary scales; lateral-line scales 49 to 53; lateral-scale series 97 to 116. Pyloric caeca 11 to 17.
Colour: Head, body, and fins pale; covered with numerous close-set brown, brownish yellow, or greenish yellow spots, the largest about size of pupil, those on front of head smaller than those on operculum. Pectoral fins pale, with small dark spots on the rays. Posterior edge of caudal fin with a distinct white margin.


E. areolatus occurs in the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, and western Indian Ocean south to Natal, South Africa; its range extends eastward to India, Sri Lanka, Andaman Islands, Thailand, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, northern Australia (and nearby islands), Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, and Fiji. It appears to be absent from Micronesia, Polynesia, and most of the islands of the western Indian Ocean (e.g., Madagascar, Mascarenes, Comoros, Chagos Archipelago, and the Maldives). It has been taken at the Seychelles (market specimen) and the Laccadives.


This species is usually found in seagrass beds or on fine sediment bottoms near rocky reefs, dead coral, or alcyonarians. It has been taken in depths of 6 to 200 m. At New Caledonia, E. areolatus was reported to feed on penaeid prawns (Fourmanoir and Laboute, 1976).


Maximum total length about 40 cm (31 cm standard length).

Interchangeable taxa

E. areolatus has often been confused with E. chlorostigma, which is also covered with brown spots and has a truncate or emarginate caudal fin with a white posterior margin. But E. chlorostigma has modally one more dorsal- and pectoral-fin ray, 2 more gill rakers, and smaller, more numerous, dark brown spots, with the largest dark spots on body about half of the size of the pupil; also the dark spots are closer together, with the pale interspaces forming a pale network on the head, body and median fins.


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 [5367]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8442]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Epinephelus areolatus (Forsskål, 1775)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132774]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Epinephelus areolatus (Forsskål, 1775)]
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 areolatus (Forsskål, 1775)]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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