Epinephelus areolatus (Forsskål, 1775)
Areolate grouper
Epinephelus areolatus
photo by Allen, G.R.

Family:  Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets), subfamily: Epinephelinae
Max. size:  47 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 1,400.0 g; max. reported age: 15 years
Environment:  reef-associated; depth range 6 - 200 m
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and the Persian Gulf to Natal, South Africa and east to Fiji, north to Japan, south to the Arafura Sea (Ref. 9819) and northern Australia. Recently recorded from Tonga (Ref. 53797). Appears to be absent from Micronesia, Polynesia, and most islands of the western Indian Ocean. Often confused with Epinephelus chlorostigma.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 11-11; Dorsal soft rays (total): 15-17; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 8-8. This species is distinguished by the following characters: body depth less than head length, 2.7-3.3 in SL (for specimens 14-31 cm SL); head length 2.4-2.8 in SL; D XI,15-17; pectoral rays 17-19 (usually 17-18); body scales ctenoid, cycloid scales on thorax and ventrally on abdomen; body with auxiliary scales; anal fin of adults rounded to slightly angular, longest soft ray 2.0-2.6 in HL; gill rakers of first gill arch 8-10 + 14-16; pyloric caeca 11-17; preopercle with 2-7 enlarged serrae at the angle; upper edge of operculum straight or slightly convex; midlateral part of lower jaw with 2 rows of teeth; lateral-line scales 49-53; caudal fin slightly convex in juveniles, truncate or slightly emarginate in adults. Colour of head, body, and fins pale, covered with numerous close-set brown, brownish yellow or greenish yellow spots (becoming smaller and increase in number as growth increases), the largest about size of pupil, those on front of head smaller than those on operculum; pectoral fins pale, with small dark spots on the rays; posterior edge of caudal fin with a distinct white margin (Ref. 39231, 90102).
Biology:  Usually found in seagrass beds or on fine sediment bottoms near rocky reefs, dead coral, or alcyonarians (Ref. 5222), in shallow continental shelf waters (Ref. 27353). Juveniles are common at water depths to 80 m (Ref. 6390). Probably spawn during restricted periods and form aggregations when doing so (Ref. 27352). Eggs and early larvae are probably pelagic (Ref. 6390). Feed on fish and benthic invertebrates, primarily prawns and crabs (Ref. 4787, 27354). Caught with hook-and-line, traps, and trawls; common in the markets of Hong Kong, Singapore and probably throughout its range (Ref. 39231).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 25 November 2016 Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   
 

Entered by: Binohlan, Crispina B. - 01.04.92
Modified by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 18.02.19
Checked by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 22.03.94

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