Hyporthodus mystacinus 

Scope: Gulf of Mexico
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Epinephelidae

Scientific Name: Hyporthodus mystacinus (Poey, 1852)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Misty Grouper, Bigeyed Grouper, Black Grouper, Convict Grouper, Moustache Grouper
French Merou, Merou Brouillard
Spanish Cherna, Cherna Del Alto, Cherna De Lo Alto, Cherna Judia Negra, Cherna Pintada, Cherno Del Alto, Guasa, Mero, Mero Gallina, Mero Listado
Epinephelus mystacinus Poey, 1852
Epinephelus octofasciatus (non Griffin, 1926)
Hyporthodus mystacinus (Poey, 1852)
Serranus mystacinus Poey, 1852
Taxonomic Notes: Misidentified as Hyporthodus octofasciatus based on specimen collected from Japan (Heemstra and Randall 1993). Eastern Pacific population may be a distinct species (Craig and Heemstra, pers. comm.).

A recent publication changed the generic name of this species to Hyporthodus (Craig and Hastings 2007) and a change of family name to Epinephelidae (Smith and Craig 2007).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern (Regional assessment) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-01-09
Assessor(s): Claro, R., Zapp-Sluis, M., Carpenter, K.E., Sedberry, G. & Cowan, J.
Reviewer(s): Linardich, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Polidoro, B.
This species is widely distributed in the Gulf of Mexico where it occurs over deep hard bottom. Very little is known on its life history. It is fished, however, not in significant amounts likely due to its deep depth. Therefore, it is listed as Least Concern. More research is needed on its age and growth as it is likely to be slow-growing and therefore susceptible to overfishing should a fishery develop.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Hyporthodus mystacinus is distributed in the western Atlantic from North Carolina south along the U.S., Bermuda, the Bahamas, in the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Keys north to Bradenton (Florida) and from Veracruz, Mexico to northwestern Cuba, and in the Caribbean Sea from Cuba to the Virgin Islands and Mexico to southern Belize, off Nicaragua, Colombia (Santa Marta), Venezuela (Cumana), and along South America to Rio de Janeiro including Trindade Island (R. Robertson pers. comm. 2014). In the eastern Pacific it is known from the Gal├ípagos Islands, Paramount Seamount, and coastal Ecuador.
Countries occurrence:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bermuda; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Cuba; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Mexico; Montserrat; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; 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:
Atlantic – western central; Pacific – southeast
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):400
Upper depth limit (metres):30
Range Map:132827-25

Population [top]

Hyporthodus mystacinus was described as "mysterious" and "rarely seen" grouper species (Schobernd 2004). It is common in Cuba, but not abundant and since it is a deeper water fish, it is not particularly targeted there. Twenty years ago, when deeper waters fisheries were operating, this species was caught in higher quantities. There is a small commercial fishery for this species in Louisiana. However, landings of this species may be increasing due to the exclusion of grouper longliners inside of 50 fathoms (J. Cowan pers. comm. 2014). This species is not officially recorded in mixed-grouper fishery in Mexico. 

Fishery-independent data
There are no studies on the abundance except the annual species and abundance survey conducted by novice and expert divers.

Fishery-independent data by country
USA-based on the information from Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF), the sighting frequency (SF; a value calculated as dividing the number of survey with Hyporthodus mystacinus encountered [n] by the total number of survey carried out in a particular year [N]) of Hyporthodus mystacinus in tropical western Atlantic ranged from 48.0% to 60.5%, with an average of 0.010% from 1993 to 2005 (www.reef.org/data; accessed on 15th Sep 2006) (Table 1, in Supplementary Material).

See the Supplementary Material for Table 1: sighting frequency of H. mystacinus from underwater visla census by Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF).

Bullock and Smith (1991) did not record any Hyporthodus mystacinus during their survey on groupers from the west Florida shelf.

Fishery-dependent Data
NMFS is the only source on the landings of Hyporthodus mystacinus.

Fishery-dependent data by country
According to NMFS, annual landings of commercial catches of Hyporthodus mystacinus in the USA from 1990 to 2003, the quantity caught stayed relatively low (0.8 to 2.0 metric tonnes) with no data available in 1991 to 1995, 1997 to 1998, 2001 and 2004 to 2005 (www.st.nmfs.gov, accessed on 14th September 2006) (Table 2, in Supplementary Material).

See the Supplementary Material for Table 2: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) commercial catch data 1990-2003.

Commercial landings are minor and there is little recreational take in SE US.

Central Brazil
The catch per unit effort for Hyporthodus mystacinus in Brazil was 3.2 fish per 1,000 hooks between 100 to 300 m.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:General
Hyporthodus mystacinus is a bathydemersal species that is typically solitary and occurs from 100 to 400 m. Juveniles sometimes occur in water as shallow as 30 m.  It is associated with hard structures.

Feeds on fishes, crustaceans, and squids. Virtually nothing is known of the age, growth, and reproduction of this species.

Size and mortality
Hyporthodus mystacinus attains a maximum body weight of 107.0 kg, with male attaining a maximum size of 160 cm TL and females at least 100 cm TL (Appeldorn et al. 1997, Heemstra and Randall 1993). Natural mortality is estimated to be 0.14 (J. McGovern pers. comm.).

Reproduction and maturity
The estimated size at maturity is 81.1 cm (31.9 in), although this may not be accurate (J. McGovern, pers. com). No information is available on its reproductive life history, including spawning and sexual pattern.

Virtually nothing is known of the age and growth of this species (Heemstra and Randall 1993).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species supports some commercial and recreational fishing.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Hyporthodus mystacinus is caught by both recreational and commercial fisheries (Heemstra and Randall 1993).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are closed areas in the Gulf of Mexico (Madison-Swanson) and South Atlantic (Oculina HAPC) where misty grouper may occur. In addition, Amendment 14 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan of the South Atlantic Region will be implemented during 2007. Misty grouper may occur in some of the proposed South Atlantic MPAs.

Citation: Claro, R., Zapp-Sluis, M., Carpenter, K.E., Sedberry, G. & Cowan, J. 2015. Hyporthodus mystacinus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T132827A70326553. . Downloaded on 23 July 2018.
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