Mycteroperca fusca


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Mycteroperca fusca
Species Authority: (Lowe, 1838)
Common Name(s):
English Comb Grouper, Island Grouper
French Merou D'Ile
Spanish Abade, Abadejo, Abae, Gitano, Mero Abadejo, Sama
Serranus emarginatus Valenciennes, 1843
Serranus fuscus Lowe, 1838
Serranus simonyi Steindachner, 1891

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(v) 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. & Sampaio, C.
Reviewer(s): Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)
Mycteroperca fusca is listed as Endangered (EN) because it has an extent of occurrence less than 5,000 km² and is known only from three locations. The species has been fished such that there has been significant decline in the number of mature individuals. The species forms spawning aggregations which are targeted by fisheries.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Mycteroperca fusca is known only from the eastern Atlantic. The species is known with certainty only from the Azores and Madeira (Portugal), Cape Verde, and the Canary Islands (Spain) (Heemstra and Randall 1993).
Cape Verde; Morocco
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – eastern central
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: General
Mycteroperca fusca has a limited range and was previously abundant, but due to fishing pressure is now locally rare. There has been local extirpation from the most intensively fished areas in the islands of the Canary Island Archipelago.

Sub-populations Azores (Az), Madeira (Mad) and the Canary Islands
Mycteroperca fusca has an erratic distribution. Individuals are rarely observed greater than 40 cm TL, or approximately half of the known maximum size.

In the Canary Archipelago, among all groupers surveyed, Mycteroperca fusca had the greatest mean area biomass (464.63 ± 1464.25 g/100 m², mean ± SD; n=768 transects), while the mean abundance was 0.32 ± 0.76 ind/100 m² (mean ± SD, n = 768). Significant differences in abundances and biomasses were observed among the islands surveyed (Tuya et al. 2006).

Specific areas of occurrence
Santa Maria (Azores) at Baixa do Norte (reproductive aggregation known and monitored annually); São Miguel (Azores) at Ilhéus dos Mosteiros (adults very rare); Terceira (Azores) at Ilhéu da Mina (adults very rare); Faial (Azores) at Baixa do Castelo Branco (formerly the largest known reproductive aggregation in the NE Atlantic, presently totally extirpated by overfishing); MAP of Garajau (Madeiras), very common including adults but presently not known if reproductive aggregations occur; North Coast of Porto Santo Island (Madeiras), very rare but adults are regularly seen at depths below 30 m. (Barreiros, J.P., pers. comm., UAC/IMAR).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Mycteroperca fusca is a demersal species that occurs near the bottom in rocky areas at depths from 1 to 200 m. Juveniles may be found in tide pools. Two specimens collected from the Cape Verde by J. Cadenat were from a depth of 50 m.
Systems: Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Fishing targeted at spawning aggregations, which for other serranids of similar life history has resulted in population declines, altered sex ratio and aggregation extirpation.

Both M. fusca (along with Epinephelus marginatus) showed the strongest responses to variations in fishing intensity and human population among the Canary Islands, thus supporting the hypothesis that major human intervention has affected the abundance and biomass of both species across the Archipelago (Tuya et al. 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The range of Mycteroperca fusca includes a few protected areas. It is recommended that fishing of this species cease.

Citation: Rocha, L., Ferreira, B., Choat, J.H., Craig, M.T., Sadovy, Y., Bertoncini, A.A. & Sampaio, C. 2008. Mycteroperca fusca. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 31 March 2015.
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