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Related FAQs: Basses of the genus Epinephelus,

Related Articles: The Bass family,

/The Conscientious Marine Aquarist

Basses of the Genus Epinephelus

By Bob Fenner

Epinephelus fasciatus

Species/Notes of Interest to Aquarists:

If you think you've seen a Bass species before, you probably have seen an a member of the genus Epinephelus. With some one hundred and one described species, this is a super-genus.

Epinephelus adscensionis (Osbeck 1765), the Rock Hind. West Atlantic. To about twenty four inches in length in the wild. Shy, but occasionally collected for the aquarium interest. This one in the Bahamas.

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Epinephelus bontoides (Bleeker 1855) Palemargin Grouper. To 30 cm. Western Pacific. Bali 2014
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Epinephelus caeruleopunctatus (Bloch 1790), the White- or Smallspotted Grouper. Indo-Pacific. Often confused and sold as/with, E. ongus, E. summana, E. corallicola. To thirty inches in length in the wild. This one photographed in the Maldives.

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Epinephelus corallicola (Valenciennes 1828), the Coral Grouper. Western Pacific. To eighteen inches in length. One of the most common Basses used in the aquarium hobby. Shy and retiring, this fish needs a dark space to escape to and sleep in to feel comfortable. Aquarium image.

Epinephelus cruentatus: see Cephalopholis cruentata
Epinephelus fasciatus (Forsskal 1775), the Blacktip Grouper. You might think "fasciated" might be a better common name for this Bass, until seeing how changeable its coloring is in the wild. Indo-Pacific. to sixteen inches maximum length. Indo-Pacific;  At right, one in Nuku Hiva, Marquesas. Images below: first taken at Australia, the other two in the upper Gulf of Aqaba, Red Sea.

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Epinephelus flavocaeruleus (Lacepede 1802), the Blue and Yellow Grouper. Indian Ocean, but not the Red Sea. To almost three feet in length in the wild. This one photographed in the Wilhelma Aquarium, Stuttgart, Germany at about two feet in length.

Epinephelus fuscoguttatus (Forsskal 1775), the Brown-Mottled Grouper. To more than thirty inches in length. A gentle behemoth that is occasionally "accidentally" collected for the trade. A shy species for getting so large. Red Sea profile and Malaysia images.

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Epinephelus guttatus (Linnaeus 1758), the Red Hind. Tropical west Atlantic. To more than thirty inches in length in the wild. A beauty and easy to keep when small. Like all members of the genus, will "cross the line" inhaling fish and motile invertebrates for food.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)

Epinephelus inermis (Valenciennes, 1833) , the Marbled Grouper.Trop. western Atlantic. A larger juvenile here shot by LeenaH in Key Largo, 2016

Epinephelus itajara (Lichtenstein 1822), the Goliath Grouper, aka Jewfish. Eastern and western Atlantic and Eastern Pacific coasts. Now that's a Bass! Up to eight foot in length. Appropriate only for Public Aquariums, like this one here in Florida.

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Epinephelus labriformis (Jenyns 1840), the Starry Grouper. Tropical eastern Pacific. To two feet in length in the wild, though most are under a foot. A beautiful aquarium fish when you can find it... Not often offered in the trade, and then hiding most all the time. Ones off of Punta Chivato, Baja, Mexico and the Galapagos.

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Epinephelus lanceolatus (Bloch 1790), the Lanceolatus or Giant Grouper. To eight feet and three hundred kilograms. The largest bony fish found on coral reefs. Sold as juveniles at times in the aquarium trade! A too-large food fish that ought to be left in the seas. Public Aquarium image.

Epinephelus macrospilos Bigspot Rockcod, Snubnose Grouper. Large, close-set, irregular brownish spots. Indo-Pacific. To twenty inches. Mauritius 2016

Epinephelus maculatus (Bloch 1790), the Spotted Grouper. Indo-Pacific; Cocos-Keeling through Micronesia. To 60 cm. A juvenile in Fiji and a larger one in N. Sulawesi. Eat reef fishes, crustaceans and octopi in the wild.

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Epinephelus malabaricus (Bloch & Schneider 1801), the Malabar Grouper. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea. To seven feet long. Another unfortunate "accidental offering" from time to time. Happy ones in the Red Sea.

Epinephelus merra Bloch 1793, the Honeycomb Grouper. Indo-Pacific, but not the Red Sea. To about a foot maximum length. A real beauty and common in the aquarium trade. Images from Bunaken/Sulawesi/Indonesia and Fiji.

Verticals (Full/Cover Page Sizes Available)
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The images in this table are linked to large (desktop size) copies. Click on "framed" images to go to the larger size.
Epinephelus mustacynis (Poey 1852), the Misty Grouper,

Epinephelus niphobles Gilbert & Starks 1897, the Starstudded Grouper. Sea of Cortez to Panama.


Epinephelus ongus (Bloch 1790), the White-Streaked Grouper. Indo-west Pacific. To about a foot long. One of the more common small basses regularly offered in the aquarium interest. Fast learner in getting along, feeding in captivity. Aquarium and Malaysian photos.


Epinephelus panamaensiss (Steindachner 1876), the Panama Graysby. Sea of Cortez to Columbia. Common in its range. To 75 cm. Costa Rica (Pacific side) 2011

Epinephelus polyphekadion (Bleeker 1849), the Camouflage Grouper. Indo-Pacific, including the Red Sea. A beauty, but grows to about three feet in length. Mostly feeds on crabs and fishes in the wild. This foot and a half specimen in the Red Sea. Formerly known as E. microdon.

Epinephelus quernus Seale 1901, the Hawaiian Grouper. Only found in the Central Pacific, the Hawaiian Islands, Johnston Atoll. To some three feet nine inches in length. This gorgeous juvenile specimen photographed at the Waikiki Aquarium, Oahu.

Epinephelus spilotoceps Schultz 1953, the Foursaddle Grouper. Indo-Pacific, but not the Red Sea, and punctuated distribution in the west Pacific. To fourteen inches in length. Periodically imported into the ornamental aquatics trade. This one in a typical repose in the Maldives.

Epinephelus striatus (Bloch 1792), the Nassau Grouper. Tropical west Atlantic. To more than three feet in the wild. A noble game and pet-fish for large systems. This one foot juvenile in the Bahamas.

Epinephelus tauvina (Forsskal 1775), the Greasy Grouper. Indo-west Pacific, including the Red Sea. To three feet in length. Another "accidental", "miscellaneous" bass/grouper import at times. Adult in the Red Sea.

Epinephelus tuka Morgans 1959, the Potato Cod. Indo-West Pacific; East Africa, Red Sea to Australia. To two meters long, 100 kg. At times a friendly "dog-fish", but can be aggressive in other settings. Friendly five foot one here at Cod Hole, Queensland, Australia.

Epinephelus undulatostriatus (Peters 1866), the Maori Grouper. Western Pacific; Australian endemic. To two feet in length (in the wild, much smaller in captivity) One and two foot specimens off of Heron Island, GBR, Qld.


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