Taxon profile


Black Rockcod
Epinephelus fuscoguttatus (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 summana fuscoguttata Forsskål, 1775
Serranus fuscoguttatus (Forsskål, 1775)
Ephinephelus fuscoguttatus (Forsskål, 1775)
Epinephelus fuscogutatus (Forsskål, 1775)
Epinephelus fuscuguttatus (Forsskål, 1775)
Serranus horridus Valenciennes, 1828
Serranus lutra Valenciennes, 1832
Epinephelus lutra (Valenciennes, 1832)
Serranus taeniocheirus Valenciennes, 1830

Other names

= Black-tipped Cod
= Blotch Grouper
= Blotchy Grouper
= Blotchy Rockcod
= Brown-marbled Grouper
= Flower Cod
= Flowery Cod
= Marble Grouper

Near Threatened NT


Epinephelus fuscoguttatus - Black Rockcod

Author: Jo Kuyken


Body depth contained 2.6 to 2.9 times in standard length (for fish 11 to 55 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.3 to 2.5 times in standard length; interorbital area flat or slightly concave; dorsal head profile of adults indented at eyes and distinctly convex from there to dorsal-fin origin; preopercle rounded, finely serrate; upper edge of operculum distinctly convex, descending almost vertically to rear end of operculum; anterior edge of preorbital bone deeply indented below nostrils; posterior nostrils triangular, 4 to 7 times larger than anteriors in adults; maxilla extends well posterior to eye; midlateral part of lower jaw with 3 or 4 rows of teeth, the inner teeth about twice longer than outer teeth; canines inconspicuous; nostrils close together. Gill rakers 10 to 12 on upper limb, 17 to 21 on lower limb (but rudiments often difficult to count); gill rakers short and stout, raker at angle subequal to longest gill filaments, other rakers distinctly shorter. Dorsal fin with XI spines and 14 or 15 rays, the third or fourth spine longest, its length contained 2.9 to 3.5 times in head length and distinctly shorter than longest dorsal-fin rays, the interspinous membranes distinctly incised; anal fin with III spines and 8 rays; pectoral-fin rays 18 to 20; pectoral-fin length contained 1.7 to 2.1 times in head length; pelvic fins not reaching anus, their length contained 2.0 to 2.5 times in head length; caudal fin rounded. Lateral-body scales of fish more than 10 cm standard length smooth, with auxiliary scales; lateral-line scales 52 to 58; lateral-scale series 102 to 115.
Colour: Pale yellowish brown, with 5 vertical series of dark brown blotches that are very irregular in outline; head, body, and fins covered with close-set small brown spots, those on the dark blotches much darker than spots in-between blotches; small black saddle spot on rear half of peduncle; 2 or 3 faint, dark bars at side of jaws.


Widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific region, including the Red Sea, but not known from the Persian Gulf, Hawaii, or French Polynesia. E. fuscoguttatus occurs at most (probably all) of the tropical islands of the Indian and west-central Pacific oceans (east to Samoa and the Phoenix Islands) along the east coast of Africa to Mozambique, and it has also been reported from Madagascar, India, Thailand, Indonesia, tropical coast of Australia, Japan, Philippines, New Guinea, and New Caledonia.


Shallow coral reefs and rocky bottoms to depths of 60 m; juveniles are found in seagrass areas. Reported stomach contents include fishes, crabs, and cephalopods. Although E. fuscoguttatus has been implicated in ciguatera fish poisonings at some localities in the Pacific, it has recently attracted interest as a candidate for aquaculture in Singapore.


Maximum size at least 95 cm total length (120 cm in the Philippines according to Schroeder, 1980) and 11 kg.

Interchangeable taxa

E. fuscoguttatus is often confused with E. polyphekadion (= E. microdon of recent authors; e.g., Kyushin et al., 1977; Grant, 1975), which has fewer pectoral-fin rays (16 or 17) usually fewer lower gill rakers (16 to 18), smoothly convex dorsal head profile, and interspinous dorsal-fin membranes less deeply incised.


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 [4460]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8469]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Epinephelus fuscoguttatus (Forsskål, 1775)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [44673]

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

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