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Epinephelus guttatus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES EPINEPHELIDAE

Scientific Name: Epinephelus guttatus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Red Hind, Koon, Lucky Grouper, Deady, Rockhind, Hind
French Merou Couronne, Grand Forte, Grand Gele, Merou, Vieille Rouge
Spanish Arigua, Cabrilla Colorada, Carbrilla, Mero, Mero Colorado, Parra, Sofia, Tofia
Synonym(s):
Epinephelus cubanus Poey, 1865
Holocentrus punctatus Bloch, 1790
Lutianus lunulatus Bloch & Schneider, 1801
Perca guttata Linnaeus, 1758
Serranus arara Valenciennes, 1828
Serranus catus Valenciennes, 1828
Serranus maculosus Valenciennes, 1828
Serranus stathouderi Vaillant & Bocourt, 1878

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Sadovy, Y., Rocha, L., Choat, J.H., Bertoncini, A.A., Ferreira, B.P. & Craig, M.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)
Justification:
Epinephelus guttatus is listed as Least Concern as it is a currently widespread and abundant species, although heavily fished. It may be of conservation concern in the future, especially if its aggregations are not protected effectively.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: General
Epinephelus guttatus is a western Atlantic species that ranges from North Carolina (USA) to Venezuela. The red hind is the most common species of Epinephelus in the West Indies and also occurs in the Bahamas, Antilles, and the Central and South American coasts. There are a few records for Brazil, but those are not confirmed, and there are no voucher specimens or photographs of this species south of Venezuela (Moura and Menezes 2003).

Specific
Anguilla, Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherland Antilles, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, USA, and Venezuela (www.fishbase.org, Cervigon 1991, Heemstra and Randall 1993, Smith 1997).
Countries:
Native:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico; Montserrat; Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire); Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; United States Minor Outlying Islands; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Native:
Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: General
Epinephelus guttatus is one of the most common species of Epinephelus in the West Indies.

Fisheries-independent data
The primary data comes from the Caribbean Southeast Area Monitoring and Assessment Program (SEAMAP-C), a fisheries-independent sampling program that targets the western insular platform of Puerto Rico and collects data on standardized catch rates and fish sizes throughout the year. Fishery-independent data trends showed annual progressive decreases in average catch per unit effort (CPUE), and average lengths of males and females, in both protected and unprotected areas prior to the enactment of seasonal closures. A small increase in annual average CPUE occurred in both regions soon after the enactment of closures, but was followed by continual low values. Initially there were no significant differences in annual average lengths, by sex, prior to and following the enactment of seasonal closures, but significant increases were observed during 2004 to 2006 (A. Marshak MS thesis).

Follow the link below for:

Table 1: Red Hind Average Catch per Unit Effort and Standard Error per year for the total sampled west coast of Puerto Rico, and the three protected areas.

Table 2: Red Hind Average Catch per Unit Effort and Standard Error per annual spawning period (Dec-Mar) for the total sampled west coast of Puerto Rico, and the three protected areas.
For further information about this species, see 132770_Epinephelus_guttatus.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: General
Epinephelus guttatus is a reef-associated species found in shallow reefs and rocky bottoms. Important in terms of numbers caught and total weight of landings in the Caribbean. Easily approached by divers. Excellent food fish. Readily caught on hook and line and easily speared. Faster growing and shorter-lived than most groupers in the Gulf of Mexico (Potts and Manooch 1995).

Feeding
Feeds mainly on crabs (Calapa and Mithrax) and other crustaceans (alpheid shrimps and scyllarid lobsters), fishes (labrids and haemulids), and octopus.

Reproduction
Red hind are usually solitary but seasonally aggregate to spawn. Some undergo sexual inversion at 28 cm TL; most fish larger than 40 cm are males. Females rest on or close to the bottom, while males patrol around an area that consists of one to five females and defend this territory from other males.

Protogynous hermaphrodite species that produces pelagic eggs and larvae. Eggs hatch in 27 hours in lab (Colin et al. 1987). Females rest on or close to the bottom, while males patrol around an area that consists of one to five females and defend this territory from other males. Form aggregations and reproduce almost exclusively within the aggregation period (Shapiro et al. 1993). Reproduces from December to April in the Caribbean and from May to July in Bermuda.

Known spawning aggregations in Puerto Rico:
1. Bajo de Sico, Mayagüez
2. Abril la Sierra, Cabo Rojo
3. Bajo Tourmaline, Mayagüez
4. El Hoyo, La Mella and La Laja, Lajas
5. Mona Island
6. Grappler Bank, Guayama

Largest fish collected in Puerto Rico, 42 cm TL (Mona Island).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Puerto Rico (and many other islands across the Caribbean), Epinephelus guttatus is threatened by the destruction of coastal habitats (mainly coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass and lagoon habitats) by dredges, coastal fill projects and the impacts associated with high-density residential and industrial development of the coastline (water pollution, thermal pollution, increased sedimentation, etc.). Commercial and recreational fisheries target Epinephelus guttatus with SCUBA with speargun, hook and line, fish traps and nets. Much effort towards red hind is expanded during the reproductive season of the species (Dec. to Feb.) despite local regulations. Other fishing gear such as traps and nets that do not target red hind may take them incidentally.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: General
Epinephelus guttatus is present in coral reef protected areas in the Greater Caribbean and Florida and regulated by fisheries in Bermuda and US Caribbean.

Country-specific
In 2004, Puerto Rico’s Department of Natural Resources passed a new fisheries regulation to prohibit the take of Epinephelus guttatus during its spawning season (December 1st to February 28 of each year), throughout the waters of Puerto Rico (up to 9 nautical miles from shore). This eliminated the site specific protection of the known spawning areas that had already been enforced for some time. Outside the 9 nautical miles (EEZ) the federal government (NOAA) has designated a ban on the take of Epinephelus guttatus. The enforcement and implementation of the new regulations has been low (Michelle T. Schärer, pers. comm.).

Spawning aggregations of Epinephelus guttatus are protected in St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands), and there are signs that the species is recovering in this area, including an increase in average size of fishes (Nemeth 2005).

Citation: Sadovy, Y., Rocha, L., Choat, J.H., Bertoncini, A.A., Ferreira, B.P. & Craig, M. 2008. Epinephelus guttatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 October 2014.
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