Cephalopholis argus Schneider, 1801
Peacock hind
Baraka,  Lapu-lapu,  Peacock hind,  Baraka,  Dugnitan,  Lapu-lapu,  Peacock rockcod,  Turnutulin
Cephalopholis argus
photo by Randall, J.E.

Family:  Epinephelidae (Groupers)
Max. size:  60 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  reef-associated; marine; depth range 0 - 40 m, non-migratory
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to Durban, South Africa and eastward to French Polynesia and the Pitcairn group, north to the Ryukyu and Ogasawara islands, south to northern Australia and Lord Howe Island. May be confused with Cephalopholis cyanostigma.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 9-9; Dorsal soft rays (total): 15-17; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 9-9. This species is distinguished by the following characters: greatest body depth 2.7-3.3 in SL; dorsal soft rays usually 16-17; pectoral fin rays usually 16-17; longitudinal scale series 95-110; caudal fin rounded; pelvic fins short , 1.9-2.4 in head length. Colour of body dark brown, with small black-edged blue spots; often with 5-6 pale bars on rear part of body and a large pale area over the chest (abdominal/pectoral region) (Ref. 39231, 90102).
Biology:  A generally common species (Ref. 9710). Adults are benthic and benthopelagic in a variety of coral habitats (Ref. 58534, 58302) from tide pools to depths of at least 40 m; preferring the 1 to 10 m reef zone. Juveniles prefer shallow, protected coral thickets (Ref. 37816). Mature adults are found in social units comprising up to 12 adults, including 1 dominant male and each group occupies a specific area (up to 2,000 sq. m.) that is defended by the territorial male and subdivided into secondary territories, each inhabited by a single female (Ref. 39231). At times, they may also be solitary (Ref. 90102). Adults feed mainly on fishes (75-95%) and to a lesser extent on crustaceans. In the Red Sea, they feed early in the morning and late afternoon (Ref. 6775) but in Madagascar, they appear to feed more at night (Ref. 6774). They are implicated in ciguatera at some of the islands in the Pacific region. They can be seen in Hong Kong live fish markets (Ref. 27253). They are important to artisanal fisheries throughout the Indo-West Pacific region and often caught with hook-and-line, spear, and in traps (Ref. 39231). Minimum depth reported taken from Ref. 128797.
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 24 April 2017 Ref. (126983)
Threat to humans:  reports of ciguatera poisoning
Country info:  Recorded in TaƱon Strait (Ref. 107276). Known from Puerto Princesa, Palawan (Ref. 58652), Calatagan, Batangas (Ref. 107852), Nasugbu, Batangas (Ref. 107853), Lanuza Bay (Ref. 104756), Bongo Island, Moro Gulf (Ref. 106380), and Bantayan Is. in northern Cebu (Ref. 114734). Museum: CAS 49619; LACM 42488-26. Reported to cause ciguatera (Ref. 393). Also Ref. 4787, 121724.

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