Taxon profile


Multispotted Grouper
Epinephelus gabriellae Randall & Heemstra, 1991

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

Vulnerable VU


Body depth contained 3.2 to 3.6 times in standard length (for fish 11 to 39 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.4 to 2.6 times in standard length; interorbital area flat to slightly convex, the dorsal head profile with slight indentation above nostrils; preopercle angular, with enlarged serrae at angle and a shallow notch just above angle; upper edge of operculum straight; posterior nostrils slightly larger than anteriors; maxilla reaches vertical at rear edge of eye; ventral edge of maxilla with a low step-like bend an orbit diameter from rear end of bone: midlateral part of lower jaw with 2 rows of teeth. Gill rakers 10 to 12 on upper limb, 17 to 19 on lower limb, no rudiments. Dorsal fin with XI spines and 14 or 15 rays, the third or fourth spine longest, contained 2.7 to 3.6 times in head length, slightly shorter than longest rays; anal fin with III spines and 8 rays, the fin margin angular; pectoral-fin rays 17 or 18; pectoral-fin length contained 1.6 to 2.1 times in head length; pelvic fins not reaching anus, their length contained 2.0 to 2.4 times in head length; caudal-peduncle depth contained 3.5 to 3.9 times in head length, 10.5 to 11.3% of standard length; caudal fin emarginate to concave, the concavity 5 to 15 times in head length. Lateral-body scales ctenoid, with numerous auxiliary scales; lateral-line scales 52 to 54; lateral-scale series 106 to 126. Pyloric caeca about 76.
Colour: Head and body pale brownish grey, densely covered (except ventrally) with tiny, close-set dark orange-brown spots: median and paired fins spotted like body; caudal, soft dorsal, and anal fins with white edge and submarginal blackish zone.


Northern Indian Ocean from Somalia to Oman.


E. gabriellae occurs on rocky bottom in depths 40 to 88 m; a 22 cm standard length immature female was taken in 6 to 8 m with rotenone. Another specimen was caught trolling, presumably near the surface, off the coast of Somalia.


Attains at least 39 cm standard length.

Interchangeable taxa

E. gabriellae is closely related to E. chlorostigma, which also has a similar colour pattern, subangular preopercle with serrae not much enlarged at the angle, gill arches with numerous small platelets, maxilla with a low step on the ventral edge, operculum with a straight upper edge, 2 rows of teeth on sides of lower jaw, anal fin angular in adults, caudal fin truncate or emarginate, and similar scale counts. But E. chlorostigma differs in having more dorsal-fin rays (16 to 18), deeper body (depth contained 2.8 to 3.3 times in standard length), deeper caudal peduncle (peduncle depth contained 3.0 to 3.6 times in head length), shorter pelvic fins (length contained 1.7 to 2.25 times in head length), and minor differences in colour pattern: spots dark brown and slightly larger, outer surface of pectoral fins distinctly spotted, and no white margins on the median fins. E. polylepis also has a similar colour pattern and an emarginate caudal fin. But it has more scales (lateral-line 65 to 72, lateral-scale series 126 to 142), 16 or 17 dorsal-fin rays, a deeper body (depth contained 2.6 to 3.3 in standard length), and the caudal fin of adults is usually less concave (concavity 9 to 33 times in head length).


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 [7346]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8470]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Epinephelus gabriellae Randall & Heemstra, 1991]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [64401]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Epinephelus gabriellae Randall & Heemstra, 1991]
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 gabriellae Randall & Heemstra, 1991]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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