Taxon profile


Bloch's Rockcod
Epinephelus maculatus (Bloch, 1790)

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

Holocentrus maculatus Bloch, 1790
Holocentrus albo-fuscus Lacépède, 1802
Plectropoma kulas Thiollière, 1856
Serranus medurensis Günther, 1873
Serranus sebae Bleeker, 1854

Other names

= Brown-spotted Rock-cod
= Highfin Grouper
= Marbled Rock Cod
= Rock Cod
= Trout Cod

Least Concern LC


Epinephelus maculatus - Bloch's Rockcod

Author: Michael Kesl


Body depth contained 2.8 to 3.1 times in standard length (for fish 11 to 37 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 with a shallow indentation just above the enlarged serrae at the corner; upper edge of operculum straight or slightly convex, nostrils subequal; 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 10 on upper limb, 15 to 17 on lower limb. Dorsal fin with Xl spines and 15 to 17 rays, the third or fourth spine longest, its length contained 2.1 to 2.6 times in head length and distinctly longer than dorsal-fin rays, the interspinous membranes slightly incised between anterior spines and not incised posteriorly; anal fin with III spines and 8 rays, the third spine longest, its length contained 3.3 to 4.1 times in head length and equal to or less than depth of caudal peduncle; pectoral-fin rays 17 to 19; pectoral-fin length contained 1.5 to 1.9 times in head length; pelvic fins reaching to or near anus,their length contained 1.7 to 2.0 times in head length; caudal fin convex or rounded. Lateral-body scales distinctly ctenoid, with numerous auxiliary scales; lateral-line scales 49 to 52; lateral-scale series 102 to 120. Pyloric caeca 30 to 45.
Colour: Head, body, and fins of adults pale brown, covered with small, round to hexagonal, close-set, dark brown spots, extending onto belly, chest and underside of head; 2 large diffuse dusky areas on dorsal part of body and dorsal fin, the largest extending over dorsal fin from second to fifth spines, the second dark blotch from tenth spine to second soft-ray, the dorsal fin pale between these 2 dusky blotches, but with small dark spots. One resting colour phase is broadly mottled with large dark and pale areas; in the pale areas, the usual dark brown spots are mostly whitish, with small dark brown centres. Small juveniles (4 to 8 cm standard length) yellowish brown, with well-separated small black spots (mainly onhead and fins) and prominent, irregular white blotches and spots, the largest on middle of dorsal fin.


Eastern Indian Ocean and Western Pacific from Cocos-Keeling Islands, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Ryukyu Islands, Ogasawara Islands, Philippines, New Guinea, Great Barrier Reef, Lord Howe Island, New Caledonia, New Ireland, Fiji, Samoa, Palau, Caroline Islands, Marshall Islands, and Kiribati (Gilbert Islands).


Coral reefs at depths of 2 to 100 m. Prey comprises mainly small fishes, crabs, and octopuses.


Attains at least 50 cm standard length.

Interchangeable taxa

E. maculatus was compared with E. longispinis in that species Taxon description, Interchangeable taxa section. E. bilobatus differs from E. maculatus in having 17 or 18 dorsal-fin rays, fewer lateral-scale series (94 to 102) and 3 bilobed dark blotches or close-set pairs of dark brown or black spots along body and base of dorsal fin; it also lacks the 2 large blackish areas on body and dorsal fin where they are separated by a large pale area with small dark spots.
E. maculatus is one of 9 “reticulated coral-reef groupers”, which have a rounded caudal fin and close-set dark brown spots, resulting in pale interspaces forming a network on the body. The other species in this group are E. bilobatus, E. faveatus, E. hexagonatus, E. macrospilos, E. melanostigma, E. merra, E. quoyanus and E. spilotoceps. These species have been much confused in the literature, and many museum specimens have been misidentified. E. maculatus differs from all of the other “reticulated groupers” in having the dorsal-fin membranes not (or only slightly) incised between the fin spines, and in the colour pattern of small juveniles (4 to 8 cm standard length) being quite different from larger juveniles (15 cm standard length) and adults.


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 [5350]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8489]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Epinephelus maculatus (Bloch, 1790)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132723]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Epinephelus maculatus Bloch, 1790]
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 maculatus (Bloch, 1790)]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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