highfin grouper

Scientific name Epinephelus maculatus
Descriptor Bloch
Year of description 1790
IUCN category (World) LC
Family Epinephelidae
Genus Epinephelus
Epinephelus maculatus Epinephelus maculatus

Introduction

Epinephelus maculatus, commonly known as highfin grouper, is a salt water fish.

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Who is it?

Genus Epinephelus

In 2019, the genus Epinephelus comprised 87 species according to FishBase. These fish are commonly known as "groupers" and belong to the "serranid group" (Serranidae).

They are territorial carnivores with elongated and robust bodies. They have imposing heads with canines in the front of their jaws and protractile mouths. All species possess 10 or 11 dorsal spines.

Most species are found in coral reefs or rocky areas, with some exceptions (such as E. aeneus, E. bruneus, or E. areolatus) living in sandy, muddy, or silty bottoms. Adults are typically observed at depths ranging from 10 to 200 meters. Most Epinephelus are recognized as protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they are born as females and become males as they grow. However, not all females may change sex, and some males may not go through this commonly accepted stage.

These fish are highly valued commercially for consumption and recreational fishing, but they are vulnerable to overfishing due to their slow growth, late maturity, and the formation of reproductive aggregations. Overfishing, particularly targeting mature individuals, can lead to sex-ratio imbalances and affect reproduction. Several groupers are now the subject of aquaculture farms (especially E. coioides and E. malabaricus).

According to the IUCN, overfishing and pollution have already caused a significant decline in the populations of many groupers, and several species are endangered.

Morphology

  • Average size
    50 cm
  • Maximum size
    60.5 cm
  • Pattern
    ponctuations
  • Average size
    50 cm
  • Maximum size
    60.5 cm
  • Pattern
    ponctuations

How to recognize the highfin grouper ?

The highfin grouper measures around 50 cm. The dominant males can however reach 60.5 cm. This fish is bicolore with a predominantly marron and beige body. The also has marron ponctuations.

Sexual dimorphism

The adult male is bigger than the female.

Behaviour & Life cycle

  • diet
    carnivorous
  • Sociability
    solitary
  • territorial
    Yes
  • Way of living
    diurnal

The highfin grouper hunts in the stalk and is one of the predators of its biotope. Opportunistic, it does not hesitate to attack any smaller animal nearby.

The highfin grouper is a fish solitary naturally found at mid-depth and near the bottom. This species is carnivorous .

This species is territorial and does not appreciate the presence of intruders nearby, especially animals with similar behavior. It can also be virulent toward conspecifics. However, the highfin grouper is generally peaceful with non-territorial animals that cannot be potential prey.

Reproduction

  • Reproduction
    ovipare

The highfin grouper is a fish ovipare.

Harmless species

This species does not represent any particular threats to humans when encountered in its natural environment.

Where to find it?

Where to see this species?

What is its habitat?

Natural environment characteristics

  • Temperature
    24 - 29 °C
  • Depth
    2 - 100 m

Biotope presentation

The highfin grouper is most often found at a depth between 2m and 100m. However, it is not impossible to find this species at other depths.

Species of the same biotope

To go further

Species of the same family

To read on the web

Sources & Contributions

Participation & Validation

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Scientific partners

Species of the same family

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Species of the same biotope

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