Taxon profile


Tenspine Grouper
Hyporthodus exsul (Fowler, 1944)

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

Scientific synonyms

Epinephelus exsul (Fowler, 1944)
Serrihastaperca exsul Fowler, 1944

Data Deficient


Body depth contained 2.3 times in standard length (2 fish of 104 and 109 mm standard length). Head length contained 2.2 to 2.3 in standard length; interorbital area convex: preopercle angular, with the serrae at the angle enlarged and with or without a few small serrae on lower edge: interopercle and subopercle smooth; rear nostrils larger than front ones and shaped like an inverted tear drop: maxilla reaches vertical at rear edge of eye. Gill rakers 8 to 10 on upper limb and 14 to 17 on lower limb, total 24 to 27. Dorsal fin with X spines and 13 or 14 rays, the interspindus membranes distinctly indented; anal fin with III spines and 8 rays; pectoral-fin rays 18 to 20; pelvic fins subequal to pectoral fins, pelvic-fin length contained 1.6 to 1.8 times in head length, the pelvic-fin origin anterior to pectoral-fin base; caudal fin rounded. Midlateral-body scales weakly ctenoid; lateral-line scales 64 to 68; lateral-scale series 87 to 92.
Colour: In alcohol, juveniles with head and body brown, dorsal and anal fins darker; faint pale spots randomly scattered over body and dorsal and anal fins; pectoral fins and distal two-thirds of caudal fin paler than body; pelvic fins dark brown; black moustache streak present.


Eastern Pacific from the Gulf of California to Panama.


The only information Heemstra and Randall (1993) have is that one of the juveniles they examined (SIO 65-164-35A from off Oaxaca, Mexico) came from a depth of 55 m.


Known only from juveniles.


Heemstra (1974) decided that the post-larva described as Serrihastaperca exsul by Fowler (1944) from the Pacific coast of Mexico was “probably a species of Epinephelus,” but commented that “The troublesome part of this hypothesis is that S. exsul does not fit very well with any of the known eastern Pacific species of Epinephelus.” This holotype has a dorsal fin with X spines and 13 rays, anal fin with III spines and 8 rays, and pectoral fins with 19 rays. The fin counts of the 5 juveniles that Heemstra and Randall (1993) recently received on loan from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography agree with those of the holotype, except for having one more dorsal-fin ray. A range of 13 or 14 dorsal-fin rays is certainly within the bounds of intraspecific variation for grouper species; and in view of the agreement in other features, Heemstra and Randall (1993) regard these specimens (the 5 juveniles and the post-larval holotype) as conspecific. H. exsul differs from all eastern Pacific species of Epinephelus (except E. analogus) in having X dorsal-fin spines. It differs from E. analogus in having fewer dorsal-fin rays (16 to 18 in E. analogus), greater body depth (depth contained 2.6 to 3.0 times in standard length for E. analogus), and very different colour pattern. E. nigritus of the western Atlantic differs in having 9 anal-fin rays, lateral-scale series 99 to 111, body depth contained 2.4 to 2.7 times in standard length, and pelvic fins longer than the pectoral 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.
Craig, Matthew T., and Hastings, Philip A., A molecular phylogeny of the groupers of the subfamily Epinephelinae (Serranidae) with a revised classification of the Epinephelini, Ichthyological Research (2007) 54: 1–17.
Author: Petr Čech

Links and literature

CH DE EN FR IT NL PR SP FishBase [9228]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8463]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Hyporthodus exsul (Fowler, 1944)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [7855]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Hyporthodus exsul (Fowler, 1944)]
Data retrieved on: 3 August 2018

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