Taxon profile


Convict Groper
Epinephelus octofasciatus Griffin, 1926

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

Hyporthodus octofasciatus (Griffin, 1926)
Epinephelus compressus Postel, Fourmanoir & Guézé, 1963

Other names

= Convict Rockcod
= Eightbar Cod
= Eightbar Grouper
= Grey Banded Rockcod

Data Deficient DD  as Hyporthodus octofasciatus


Body depth contained 2.2 to 2.7 times in standard length (for fish 10 to 47 cm standard length). Head length contained 2.4 to 2.5 times in standard length; interorbital distinctly convex, the dorsal head profile also convex; preopercle angular, the serrae at angle enlarged; lower edge of preopercle with 0 to 3 small spines anterior to angle; lower edge of subopercle and rear edge of interopercle distinctly serrate; upper edge of operculum convex; diameter of posterior nostrils 2 or 3 times that of anterior nostrils but not more than distance from rear nostril to edge of orbit; maxilla reaches to below rear half of eye; no distinct step on lower edge of maxilla: midlateral part of lower jaw with 2 rows of teeth. Gill rakers 7 to 9 on upper limb, 15 to 17 on lower limb. Dorsal fin with XI spines and 14 or 15 rays, the interspinous membranes deeply incised, the third or fourth spine longest, its length contained 2.5 to 2.9 times in head length and subequal to longest dorsal-fin rays; anal fin with III spines and 9 rays; pectoral-fin rays 18 or 19; pelvic fins subequal to or larger than pectoral fins, pectoral-fin length contained 1.8 to 2.0 times in head length; caudal-peduncle depth contained 0.9 to 1.3 times in its length; caudal fin rounded. Lateral-body scales ctenoid, with a few auxiliaries; lateral-line scales 65 to 71; lateral-scale series 114 to 126. Pyloric caeca very numerous, in 3 or 4 dendritic bundles with more than 80 terminal branches.
Colour: Body buff with 8 broad dark brown bars, first on nape, second at dorsal-fin origin and covering first 2 dorsal spines, seventh bar broader than sixth and extending from base of middle 5 to 7 dorsal-fin rays to rear half of anal-fin base, 2 pale interspaces below soft dorsal fin, last bar covering most of caudal peduncle and base of last 2 or 3 dorsal-fin rays; pelvic fins and distal half of soft dorsal and anal fins blackish brown; faint dark brown band from eye to middle opercle spine; blackish maxillary streak present; some specimens with narrow white margin at corners of caudal fin, lower edge of anal fin and anterior two-thirds of edge of soft dorsal fin. Gill rakers and gill arches covered with minute melanophores.


Indo-West Pacific from South Africa to Japan, Australia and New Zealand; except for Japan, China and Korea, most distribution records for “H. septemfasciatus” are probably based on E. octofasciatus.


Probably rocky reefs. Postel et al., (1963) reported E. octofasciatus (as “E. compressus”) from depths of 150 to 300 m in the Mascarene Islands.


Attains at least 80 cm total length (12 kg).

Interchangeable taxa

E. octofasciatus is closely related to H. septemfasciatus, which differs in having the body depth usually less (depth contained 2.5 to 3.1 times in standard length), caudal peduncle usually more slender (peduncle depth contained 1.2 to 1.5 times in its length), diameter of rear nostrils greater than distance from nostril to orbit, and in the configuration of the dark body bars (6 dark bars wholly below dorsal fin and 2 narrow dark bars below middle rays of soft dorsal fin; 3 pale interspaces below soft dorsal fin). Katayama (1975, 1988) identified the E. octofasciatus in Japan as “Epinephelus (Hyporthodus) mystacinus Poey,” which also has 8 dark bars on the body; but H. mystacinus has fewer lateral-scale series (99 to 112), the pelvic fins are shorter than the pectoral fins, and the dark bars on the body are narrower (their width equal to or less than the pale interspaces). H. mystacinus is known from the western Atlantic and the Galapagos Islands.
E. ergastularius, which is known only from the east coast of Australia, is another similar species. Adults have a truncate or emarginate caudal fin and fine dermal ridges on the body at the base of the dorsal fin; also, the fins have white margins. Juveniles can be distinguished by the spacing of the dark brown bars on the body: on E. ergastularius the pale space separating the second and third dark bars and that between the fourth and fifth bars is distinctly narrower than the interspaces between the third and fourth or fifth and sixth bars; on E. octofaciatus all the pale interspaces are about the same width.


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 [7355]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/8504]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Epinephelus octofasciatus Griffin, 1926]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [132772]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Hyporthodus octofasciatus (Griffin, 1926)]
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 octofasciatus Griffin, 1926]
Data retrieved on: 19 August 2019

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