Epinephelus maculatus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Epinephelidae

Scientific Name: Epinephelus maculatus Bloch, 1790
Common Name(s):
English Highfin Grouper, Bloch's Rockcod, Brown-spotted Rock-cod, Marnbled Rock Cod, Rock Cod, Spotted Rockcod, Trout Cod
French Grisette, Loche De Sable, Loche Uitoe, Merou Haute Voile
Spanish Mero Aleta Alta
Epinephelus maculatus Bloch, 170
Holocentrus albo-fuscus Lacepede, 1802
Holocentrus maculatus Bloch, 1790
Plectropoma kulas Thiolliere, 1856
Serranus medurensis Gunther, 1873
Serranus sebae Bleeker, 1854

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Choat, J.H., Kulbicki, M. & Sadovy, Y.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)
Epinephelus maculatus is listed as Least Concern as it is a widespread, common species that is not currently in significant decline.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:General
Epinephelus maculatus is a Pacific Ocean species found from the Cocos-Keeling Islands to Line islands, north to southern Japan, south to southeastern Australia and Lord Howe Island.

Nicobars, West Thailand, Myanmar, Bali, Sangalakki, Borneo, eastern Indonesia, Manado, Sulawesi, Flores, Komodo Sunda Is Ambon, Halmahera, Howland Island, Flores, Timor, Aru, Raja Ampat, Cocos-Keeling, Christmas, Ashmore Scott Reef, Phillippines, GBR, Solomon Is, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Loyalty Is, Chesterfields, Elizabeth & Middleton Reefs, Lord Howe, Hong Kong, South Taiwan Peng hu shan, Ryukyu, Kawhisi-jima, South Japan, Izu Is, Ogosawara, Line Islands, Micronesia, Palmyra, Phoenix, Palau, Yap, Ifalik, South Marianas, North Marianas, Marshall Is Fiji, Rotuma, Tonga, Samoa, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, West Papua (Indonesia), Papua New Guinea, Caroline Islands, Kiribati (Gilbert Islands)

FAO Areas: Indian Ocean, Eastern Pacific, Northwest Pacific, Western Central Pacific, Eastern Central Pacific, Southwest.
Countries occurrence:
American Samoa; Australia; China; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Fiji; Hong Kong; Indonesia; Japan; Kiribati; Marshall Islands; Micronesia, Federated States of ; Nauru; New Caledonia; Northern Mariana Islands; Palau; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Samoa; Solomon Islands; Taiwan, Province of China; Timor-Leste; Tokelau; Tonga; Tuvalu; Vanuatu; Wallis and Futuna
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Pacific – northwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):100
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Epinephelus maculatus is moderately common and not currently in significant decline throughout its range, although there may be some localised declines.

Fisheries-independent data
Estimates of abundance from three Pacific localities (Kulbicki IRD data base adjusted to no. per 1,000 m²) gave for Fiji (0.09), New Caledonia (0.5), and Tonga (0.12) all in outer reef habitats and are consistent with estimates from other localities. Greater abundances are found in soft bottom habitats.

Replicated counts of E. maculatus from the Great Barrier Reef indicate very low abundances with evidence of restriction to northern reefs (no. per 1,000 m²) (Pears 2005):

Location: Lizard mid-shelf 0.87 +/1 0.16; Townsville 0; McKay 0; Pompey 0.

Fisheries-dependent data
In New Caledonia where it is caught in experimental fishing it makes up 24% by number and 16% by weight of all serranids caught. Catches in 1987 were approximately twice as high as in 2000, and average weight changed from 1.1 to 0.9 kg per fish for the same levels of fishing effort.

In Pohnpei, 35 individuals were observed in the coral reef fishery over a five-month survey period, for a total of 1.9% of the total serranid catch during this period. The size range of catch was 185 to 345 mm TL. (Rhodes and Tupper 2007).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:General
E. maculatus is a reef-associated species found at depths of 1 to 100 m. It tends to occur on more shelter reef localities on the GBR (Pears 2005) but in the Pacific was associated with outer reef habitats (Kulbicki 2006). May be ciguatoxic in some areas (New Caledonia) (Myers 1999). Juveniles are found in shallow coral rubble.

Prey comprises mainly small fishes, crabs, and octopuses. (Heemstra and Randall 1993).

Sex ratio
In New Caledonia there were 150 males compared to 440 females.

Age and growth, reproduction
Analysis of 64 otoliths identified E. maculatus showed the species to be a fast growing serranid with a high population turnover rate. No reproductive data was gathered for this species. Lmax 431 mm TL, Tmax seven years. A size of 400 mm FL was achieved by 10% of three year old individuals.

There are anecdotal reports of spawning aggregation formation from Papua New Guinea and Pohnpei (Rhodes pers. comm.).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is targeted by artisinal and subsistence fisheries. It is traded internationally, and is part of the live fish trade and for example is found in the Hong Kong live fish markets. In areas where there are grouper fisheries it is collected incidentally.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: E. maculatus is found in several protected areas throughout its range.

Citation: Choat, J.H., Kulbicki, M. & Sadovy, Y. 2008. Epinephelus maculatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T132723A3433096. . Downloaded on 20 September 2017.
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