Taxon profile


Long-spine Rock Cod
Epinephelus longispinis (Kner, 1864)

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

Serranus longispinis Kner, 1864
Epinephelus fario (Thunberg, 1793)
Epinephelus gaimardi (non Valenciennes, 1830)
Epinephelus longispinnis (Kner, 1864)

Other names

= Longspine Grouper

Least Concern LC


Body depth contained 2.8 to 3.3 times in standard length (for fish 13 to 35 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 convex; preopercle corner with enlarged serrae and a shallow indentation just above the corner; upper edge of operculum straight or slightly convex; posterior nostrils not much larger than anterior nostrils; maxilla reaches to or past vertical at rear edge of eye, the ventral edge with a blunt hook-like process distally in fish larger than 35 cm standard length; midlateral part of lower jaw with 2 rows of teeth. Gill rakers 8 to 11 on upper limb, 15 to 17 on lower limb. Dorsal fin with XI spines and 16 or 17 rays, the third or fourth spine longest, its length contained 2.1 to 2.6 times in head length and distinctly longer than longest dorsal rays, the interspinous membranes slightly incised between anterior spines and not incised between posterior spines; anal fin with III spines and 8 rays; pectoral-fin rays 17 to 19; pectoral-fin length contained 1.5 to 1.9 times in head length; pelvic fins not reaching anus, their length contained 1.8 to 2.2 times in head length; caudal fin convex. Lateral-body scales distinctly ctenoid, with numerous auxiliary scales; lateral-line scales 49 to 53; lateral-scale series 98 to 121.
Colour: Head and body pale; greyish brown, covered with small, dark reddish brown spots that are round and widely spaced on head and front half of body, but obliquely elongated, closer together and darker posteriorly; fins with similar dark brown spots; a row of dark spots along distal margin of soft dorsal and caudal fins. Juveniles with fewer dark spots on head and body, and 2 to 4 dark blotches on body at base of dorsal fin and extending onto fin; ventral part of head and body with irregular white spots; white blotch on upper part of operculum.


Continental and insular localities in the Indian Ocean from Kenya to South Africa (32ºS) and east to the Watubela Group of the eastern Banda Sea, including Madagascar, Comoros, Aldabra, Seychelles, Chagos Islands, Mauritius, Réunion, Maldives, Lakshadweep Islands, India, Sri Lanka, Nicobars, and the Nazareth Bank. Not known from the Red Sea or Persian Gulf.


E. longispinis is usually found on coral reefs or rocky areas and occasionally on sandy bottom; depths of capture range from 1 to 70 m. Feeds mainly on crustaceans, especially crabs and stomatopods, and rarely on fish and squid.


Attains at least 46 cm standard length, 2.7 kg.

Interchangeable taxa

E. longispinis is similar to E. maculatus in counts of fin rays, scales, and gill rakers, and also in morphometric features, elevated anterior dorsal-fin spines, and a distinct step-like indentation on ventral edge of maxilla. Juveniles are somewhat similar in colour pattern: brown with small scattered dark spots on body, larger dark spots on fins, and irregular white spots and blotches on head and body. Adults of E. maculatus differ in having all the dark spots on head and body round (none elongated into oblique streaks) and close-set (not more crowded posteriorly), large pale blotch on middle of dorsal fin, and no row of dark spots along rear edge of caudal fin. These two species occur together in Indonesia; J.E. Randall observed and photographed both species at Bali.


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 [7352]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8487]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Epinephelus longispinis (Kner, 1864)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132748]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Epinephelus longispinis (Kner, 1864)]
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 longispinis (Kner, 1864)]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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