Taxon profile


Netfin Grouper
Epinephelus miliaris (Valenciennes, 1830)

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 miliaris Valenciennes, 1830
Epinephelus dictyophorus Bleeker, 1856
Serranus diktiophorus Bleeker, 1856
Epinephelus diktiophorus (Bleeker, 1856)
Epinephelus fuscus Fourmanoir, 1961
Serranus gaimardi Valenciennes, 1830
Epinephalus gaimardii (Valenciennes, 1830)

Least Concern LC


Body depth contained 2.8 to 3.2 times in standard length (for fish 15 to 43 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.4 to 2.6 times in standard length; interorbital convex, but dorsal head profile with a slight concavity at eyes; preopercle subangular, with a shallow notch just above the angle and the serrae at the angle enlarged in juveniles; upper edge of operculum straight; diameter of posterior nostrils about twice that of anteriors; maxilla reaches vertical at rear edge of eye or thereabouts; adults larger than 25 cm standard length with a low step on lower edge of maxilla at distal expansion; midlateral part of lower jaw with 2 to 4 rows of teeth. Gill rakers 8 or 9 on upper limb, 14 to 16 on lower limb. Dorsal fin with XI spines and 16 or 17 rays, the third or fourth spine longest, its length contained 2.2 to 2.7 times in head length and distinctly longer than the longest rays, the interspinous membranes distinctly incised; anal fin with III spines and 8 rays, the third spine usually slightly longer than second, length of second spine contained 3.2 to 4.0 times in head length; pectoral-fin rays 17 or 18; pectoral-fin length contained 1.6 to 1.9 times in head length; pelvic fins reach slightly past anus or not so far, their length contained 1.7 to 2.1 times in head length: caudal fin rounded. Lateral-body scales distinctly ctenoid, with a few auxiliary scales; lateral-line scales 48 to 52; lateral-scale series 92 to 108. Pyloric caeca 30.
Colour: Head and body pale, covered with small, close-set, polygonal, dark brown, reddish brown, or yellowish brown spots, the ground colour forming a pale, irregular, small-mesh network; fins with pattern similar to the body, but the dark spots are darker and distinctly larger than on the body. Some spots on body and dorsal fin are darker than others, forming 4 or 5 broad, oblique, dark bars (1 on nape, 3 extending into dorsal fin and 1 at base of caudal fin).


E. miliaris is known from the western Indian Ocean (but not the Red Sea or Persian Gulf) to the Gilbert Islands and Samoa in the central Pacific. It is an insular species that has been reported from Pemba and Zanzibar (off Tanzania), Bassa da India (in Mozambique Channel), Comoros, Aldabra, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Chagos, East Burma Sea, Andaman Islands, Indonesia (Sulawesi [Celebes] only), South China Sea, Ryukyu Islands, New Guinea, New Ireland, New Georgia, Solomon Islands, Santa Cruz Islands, Palau, Caroline Islands, and Fiji.


E. miliaris is found in a variety of habitats. Juveniles (8 to 21 cm standard length) have been taken on mud bottom, seagrass beds, mangrove swamps, and from coral reefs in depths of 1 to 16 m. Adults have been caught on coral reefs in depths of 18 to 180 m. Morgans reported a mature female of 35 cm standard length; stomach contents of 2 fish that he examined included a juvenile clappid crab, a stomatopod, and a gastropod.


Maximum size known to Heemstra and Randall (1993) is 43 cm standard length (53 cm total length).

Interchangeable taxa

E. miliaris bears some similarity to E. maculatus in colour pattern, long dorsal-fin spines, step on lower edge of maxilla, and meristic characters. But E. maculatus has the dark spots on the body notably larger than those on E. miliaris, and the dark spots on the soft dorsal, caudal, and anal fins are not larger or darker than those on the body; also, the interspinous dorsal-fin membranes of E. maculatus are only slightly incised. E. fuscoguttatus and E. polyphekadion, which might be mistaken for E. miliaris, have only 14 or 15 dorsal-fin rays, and the dark spots on the fins are not larger or darker than those on the body. Fourmanoir (1961,1963) gave the dorsal-fin ray count as 14 for his holotype of E. fuscus, but examination and a radiograph of this specimen performed by Heemstra nad Randall (1993) showed that it has 17 dorsal soft-rays, although the second soft-ray has developed into a spine distally.


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 [7353]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8495]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Epinephelus miliaris (Valenciennes, 1830)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132756]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Epinephelus miliaris (Valenciennes, 1830)]
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 miliaris (Valenciennes, 1830)]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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