Epinephelus merra Bloch, 1793
Honeycomb grouper
Baraka,  Honeycomb grouper,  Abo-abo,  Alatan,  Baghak,  Bantol,  Bantulon,  Baraka,  Bato-bato,  Batol,  Bulang,  Dwarf spotted rockcod,  Iner,  Inid,  Jahong,  Kakab,  Kaltang,  Kigting,  Kugtong,  Kugtung,  Kulapo,  Kurapo,  Kurapu,  Labungan,  Lapu lapu,  Lapu-lapu,  Lapu-lapung liglig,  Lapu-lapung lupot,  Liglig,  Lilug,  Lubo,  Mamonbong,  Mantis,  Maskad,  Matkad,  Ogaw,  Pugapo,  Pugayo,  Salingukod,  Sibog,  Sigapo,  Subla,  Tabadlo,  Taleti-on,  Tangk-an,  Ting-ad,  Tingag
Epinephelus merra
photo by Randall, J.E.

Family:  Epinephelidae (Groupers)
Max. size:  36.5 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 1,001.0 g
Environment:  reef-associated; marine; depth range 0 - 50 m
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: South Africa to French Polynesia. Not known from the Red Sea, Persian Gulf, nor Asian mainland.
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: greatest body depth 2.8-3.3 in SL; head length 2.3-2.6 in SL; preopercle rounded or subangular, the serrae at angle enlarged; upper edge of operculum almost straight; midlateral part of lower jaw with 2-4 rows of teeth, the inner teeth about twice length of outer ones; gill rakers of first gill arch 6-9 + 14-17; dorsal fin spines third to last subequal, the longest 2.4-3.2 in HL; anal fin spines second and third subequal, 2.1-3.0 in HL and longer than depth of peduncle; caudal fin rounded, peduncle depth 3.2-4.1 in HL; pectoral-fin rays 16-18; lateral-line scales 48-54, in series 98-114. Head, body, and fins pale, are covered with close-set (sometimes coalesced), dark brown or reddish brown spots, the interspaces forming an irregular pale reticulum; pectoral fins are covered with distinct small black spots, largely confined to the rays (the best diagnostic colour character of this species) (Ref. 39231, 89707, 90102).
Biology:  A solitary fish, in coastal and offshore reefs usually in less than 20 m depth (Ref. 90102); also very common in shallow lagoon and semi-protected seaward reefs. Juveniles are common in thickets of staghorn Acropora corals. Feed on crustaceans and fishes. Increase of piscivory with age is observed in this species. Neither opercular spine nor anterolateral glandular grooves with venom gland is present (Ref. 57406). Current information in the table (dangerous fish) do not match; needs verification. Cultured under experimental conditions in the Philippines (Ref. 4757). In the Hong Kong live fish markets (Ref. 27253). It is important to artisanal fisheries because of its abundance in shallow water and caught with handlines, fish traps, and spear (Ref. 39231).
IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC); Date assessed: 17 January 2017 Ref. (126983)
Threat to humans:  reports of ciguatera poisoning
Country info:  Known from Puerto Princesa, Palawan (Ref. 58652), Nasugbu, Batangas (Ref. 107854), Calatagan, Batangas (Ref. 107853), Lanuza Bay (Ref. 104756), Sarangani Bay, Paril-Sangay Protected Seascape, Moro Gulf (Ref. 106380). Cultured under experimental conditions in the Philippines (Ref. 4757). . Museum: ZUMT 11135-36. Sitankai, UMMZ 100332. Luzon, Lingayen Gulf, LACM 35970-4, 42467-13. Off Calauit, collected by angling, FRLM 12133. Also Ref. 280, 5222, 10558, 12744, 13724, 48613, 121724.

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