Taxon profile


Olive Grouper
Epinephelus cifuentesi Lavenberg & Grove, 1993

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

Near Threatened NT


Body depth contained 2.6 to 3.0 times in standard length (for fish 15 to 54 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.5 to 2.8 times in standard length; interorbital area convex, the width greater than eye diameter for fish larger than 23 cm standard length; preopercle subangular, the serrae at angle slightly enlarged; upper edge of operculum slightly convex; nostrils subequal or rear nostril slightly larger; maxilla reaches past vertical through centre of eye; two rows of teeth at midside of lower jaw. Gill rakers 9 to 11 on upper limb, 17 to 20 on lower limb, total 27 to 31. Dorsal fin with Xl spines and 14 to 16 rays, the second spine longest and the interspinous membranes distinctly incised; anal fin with III spines and 9 rays; pectoral-fin rays 17 to 19, the fin length contained 1.7 to 1.9 times in head length: pelvic-fin length contained 2.0 to 2.3 times in head length, pelvic-fin origin slightly in front of lower end of pectoral-fin base; caudal fin truncate with rounded corners in adults, convex in juveniles. Midlateral-body scales distinctly ctenoid, with auxiliary scales in large adults; lateral-line scales 71 to 76; lateral-scale series 131 to 144.
Colour: When fresh, body and head pale brown, with a distinct greenish sheen on body; lips, tip of lower jaw, and dorsal part of head darker. Fins brown, generally darker than body, with a blue-green sheen, particularly evident on pectoral fins, which are cream coloured distally; pelvic fins pale brown with dusky membranes; dorsal fin dusky distally in fish 57 to 61 cm total length, the margin between first to fifth spines nearly black in fish 33 to 43 cm total length. Anal fin dusky distally with white edge (in fish 33 to 62 cm total length). Juveniles (15 cm standard length) have no distinctive markings except for a dark maxillary groove.


Eastern Pacific: Galapagos Islands, lsla del Coco, and off Costa Rica. Probably also occurs off Mexico.


E. cifuentesi is known from depths of 40 to at least 120 m.


In the Galapagos, this species grows to a length of about 100 cm total length.


The description of this new species is taken from the unpublished manuscript of R.J. Lavenberg and J. Grove. Unfortunately, the publication of this manuscript has been delayed, and Heemstra and Randall (1993) have included the species in FAO species catalogue, Vol. 16, Groupers of the world because of its importance in the commercial fishery of the Galapagos. The species name is in honour of Sr. Miguel Cifuentes, former lntendente of the Galapagos National Park in appreciation of his assistance in the field work at the Galapagos Islands. Although E. cifuentesi has only now been described and given a scientific name, it has been known to fishermen at the Galapagos for many years, and it is one of the most important commercial species there. E. cifuentesi is readily distinguished from other eastern Pacific species of Epinephelus. It is most similar to E. niphobles, from which it differs in lacking the enlarged posterior nostrils, in having more lateral-scale series (100 to 106 in E. niphobles) and more gill rakers (23 to 26 in E. niphobles), and in the colour pattern of juveniles. E. exsul, differs from E. cifuentesi in having a dorsal fin with X spines and 13 or 14 rays, anal-fin rays 8, a larger head (head length 2.2 to 2.3 in standard length), greater body depth (the depth 2.3 in standard length), and lower scale counts (lateral line 64 to 68, lateral-scale series 87 to 92). On page 200 of the Catalogo de Peces Marinos Mexicanos published by the Mexican lnstituto Nacional de Pesca in 1976 is a photograph of a 236 mm total length fish identified as “Gallina (Epinephelus sp.)“. This fish appears to be E. cifuentesi; the second dorsal-fin spine is the longest, and the fin counts (taken from the photograph) are XI spines and 16 rays in the dorsal fin, III spines and 9 rays in the anal fin.


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 [9219]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8449]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Epinephelus cifuentesi Lavenberg & Grove, 1993]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [44686]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Epinephelus cifuentesi Lavenberg & Grove, 1993]
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 cifuentesi Lavenberg & Grove, 1993]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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