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Epinephelus adscensionis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES EPINEPHELIDAE

Scientific Name: Epinephelus adscensionis
Species Authority: (Osbeck, 1765)
Common Name(s):
English Rock Hind, Graysby, Hind, Jack, Rock Grouper, Butterfish, Deady
French Grand Gueule, Merou Oualioua, Mérou Oualioua, Vielle
Spanish Cabra Mora, Cabrilla, Mero Cabriila
Synonym(s):
Cerna adscensionis (Obseck, 1765)
Epinephelis adscensionis (Osbeck, 1765)
Epinephelus adscensionis (Osbeck, 1765)
Epinephelus ascencionis (Osbeck, 1765)
Epinephelus ascensionis (Osbeck, 1765)
Epinephelus aspersus (Jenyns, 1840)
Epinephelus capreolus (Poey, 1860)
Epinephelus impetiginosus (Muller and Troschel, 1848)
Perca stellio Walbaum, 1792
Serranus ascensionis (Osbeck, 1765)
Serranus aspesus Jenyns, 1840
Serranus capreolus Poey, 1860
Serranus impetiginosus Muller and Troschel, 1848
Serranus luridus Ranzani, 1842
Serranus nigriceps Valenciennes, 1830
Serranus nigriculus (non Valenciennes, 1828)
Serranus pixanga Valenciennes, 1828
Serranus varius Bocourt, 1868
Trachinus adscensionis Osbeck, 1765
Trachinus osbeck Lacepede, 1800

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Rocha, L., Ferreira, B., Choat, J.H., Craig, M.T., Sadovy, Y. & Bertoncini, A.A.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)
Justification:
E. adscensionus is listed as Least Concern because it is widespread and abundant in many parts of its range even in fished areas.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Epinephelus adscensionis is a wide-ranging species known from Ascension and St. Helena Islands in the central and eastern Atlantic, and in the western Atlantic from USA (Massachusetts (one record), South Carolina, Georgia, Florida), Bermuda, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean (Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles), to southern Brazil (including Villa des Remedios Is (northeast of Natal), Abrolhos, Fernando de Noronhas, Trinidade). It has also been recorded from São Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea (Heemstra and Randall 1993), and the Azores (Portugal) (Myers distributional database 2006).
Countries:
Native:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Equatorial Guinea; French Guiana; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Guyana; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sao Tomé and Principe; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Suriname; 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 – eastern central; Atlantic – southeast; Atlantic – southwest; Atlantic – western central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: General
Detailed analyses of the demography of E. adscensionus are available from the Islands of Ascension and St. Helena courtesy of the Fisheries Directorate St. Helena. On both Islands E. adscensionus was one of the few serranids present in reefal waters and a line fishery that extended to 60 m recorded only this species of serranid.

Fishery-independent
The abundance estimates (Table 1) represent some of the highest densities recorded for serranids on shallow reefs. However the low abundances recorded from sites adjacent to major population centres on St. Helena identify a potential to remove this species from specific localities. Very high abundances were recorded from one locality in deeper water on the north coast of Ascension indicating a possible groups spawning site.

Follow the link below for Table 1: abundance patterns (count results).

Population dynamics
Estimates of age structure from St. Helena and Ascension and from one Caribbean site showed that this species is fast growing and relatively short lived reaching 300 mm FL in four years with a maximum size of 60 cm.

Follow the link below for Table 2: estimates of age structure from St. Helena and Ascension.

Both St. Helena and Ascension populations displayed very similar demographic characteristics despite the relative positions in tropical and subtropical water masses. No difference in length weight relationships was identified between the island populations.

Analysis of a small sample from Los Roques in the northern Caribbean showed a size range from 190 to 545 mm FL and 4 to 12 years in age.
For further information about this species, see 132819_Epinephelus_adscensionis.pdf.
A PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader is required.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: General
E. adscensionus occurs on rocky reefs in depths of 2 to 100 m.

Feeding
E. adscensionus feeds mainly on crabs (67%) and fishes (20%). At Ascension Island, rock hind include juvenile triggerfish (Melichthys niger) and young sea turtles in their diet. At St. Helena, E. adscensionis are common in shallow water and represent 90% of “groundfish” landings; large adults (over 50 cm) are taken regularly in 50 to 100 m, but are rare in shallow water (Heemstra and Randall 1993).

Reproduction and maturity
Only the Ascension Island population contained mature individuals at the time of sampling (May to June). Female maturity occurred at 350 mm FL and four years of age. The presence of older individuals with sexually transitional gonads indicates protogynous hermaphroditism. However histological analysis of small individuals was too sparse to allow unambiguous identification of male recruitment pathways.

Mean testis wt in mature individuals 7.3±0.6 gms
Mean ovary wt in mature individuals 39.8±6.9 gms

This, plus observations, suggest that some spawning occurs within the context of small haremic groups.

Fishers in Belize have identified E. adscensionus as a group spawning species in the Gladdens Spit area (Heyman 2001).
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Fishery-dependent
Although E. adscensionus is targeted by some tropical western Atlantic fisheries, the numbers taken are relatively small (Harper et al. 2000). However the isolated populations of Ascension and St. Helena represent targeted fisheries. On both island this species is subject to a local line fishery and is the main shallow water species targeted. The fishery is more intense on St. Helena. UVC on both islands identified fishing effects especially on St. Helena.

The St Helena fishery especially is increasing and now stands at approx 45 metric tonnes of E. adscensionus per year. Although effort has also increased there no evidence at this time of a decline in CPUE. However the evidence from the St. Helena UVC data strongly suggests localized depletion of this species in fished areas.

The potential for an export fishery exists in St. Helena once an international airport is established.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Closure of areas suggested due to local depletion and low rate of movement in shallow reef populations of E. adscensionus. In St. Helena, there is a catch limit of 45 metric tonnes per year. It occurs in some protected areas in its range, including the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve in Belize where spawning aggregations have been reported.

Citation: Rocha, L., Ferreira, B., Choat, J.H., Craig, M.T., Sadovy, Y. & Bertoncini, A.A. 2008. Epinephelus adscensionis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 November 2014.
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