Taxon profile


Kelp Grouper
Epinephelus bruneus Bloch, 1793

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

Epinephelus brunneus Bloch, 1793
Serranus moara Temminck & Schlegel, 1842
Epinephelus moara (Temminck & Schlegel, 1842)
Cephalopholis moara (Temminck & Schlegel, 1842)

Other names

= Longtooth Grouper
= Mud Grouper

Vulnerable VU


Epinephelus bruneus - Kelp Grouper

Author: B. Kao

Epinephelus bruneus - Kelp Grouper

Author: B. Kao

Epinephelus bruneus - Kelp Grouper

Author: B. Kao


Body elongate, the depth contained 3.0 to 3.6 times in standard length (for fish 12 to 51 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.3 to 2.5 times in standard length; interorbital area convex; preopercle angular, with the serrae at angle distinctly enlarged; dorsal spine-on opercle inconspicuous: upper edge of operculum convex; nostrils small subequal; maxilla reaches past vertical at rear edge of eye: tiny embedded scales on maxilla; no step on ventral edge of maxilla; midlateral part of lower jaw with 2 rows of well-developed canines, those along sides of upper jaw slightly smaller. Gill rakers shorter than gill filaments, 9 to 11 on upper limb, 16 to 18 on lower limb, total 24 to 27. Dorsal fin with XI spines and 13 to 15 rays, the third or fourth spine longest, but shorter than the longest ray, the interspinous membranes deeply incised; anal fin with III spines and 8 rays; pectoral-fin rays 17 to 19; pectoral-fin length contained 1.9 to 2.5 times in head length; pelvic-fin length contained 2.2 to 2.6 times in head length and ending well short of anus; caudal fin rounded. Midlateral-body scales ctenoid; no auxiliary scales on body; lateral-line scales 64 to 72; some anterior lateral-line scales on adults with branched tubes; lateral-scale series 93 to 126.
Colour: Adults (larger than 40 cm standard length) dark greyish brown, the bars and bands replaced by faint dorsal blotches or absent altogether, the body covered with small pale grey spots forming short horizontal lines and a mottled pattern; lower margin of anal fin and lower corner of caudal fin with white edge. Juveniles pale yellowish brown, the body with 6 irregular, oblique dark bars containing irregular pale spots: first bar extends from nape to eye, the last on caudal peduncle; 3 dark brown bands radiating from lower part of eye; some fish with distal part of interspinous membranes greenish yellow.


E. bruneus is known only from the coasts of Korea, Japan (north to Hegura-jima Island, 37º50’N), China (south to Hong Kong and Hainan Island), and Taiwan.


Rocky reefs and mud bottom; adults found in depths of 20 to 200 m; juveniles occur in shallow water.


Maximum total length about 100 cm.


In recent literature, this species was generally identified as Epinephelus moara. According to Burgess and Axelrod (1971) a specimen (identified as “Epinephelus moara”) of 134 cm and weighing about 30 kg was caught off Kochi, Japan. This record may be true, but Heemstra and Randall (1993) have seen no verification of it.


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 [7335]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8447]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Epinephelus bruneus Bloch, 1793]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
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 bruneus Bloch, 1793]
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.