Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Serranidae
(Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets) > Epinephelinae
Etymology: Cephalopholis: Greek, kephale = head + Greek, pholis = scale (Ref. 45335). More on author: Schneider.
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; reef-associated; non-migratory; depth range 1 - 40 m (Ref. 37816), usually 1 - 15 m (Ref. 90102). Tropical; 24°C - 28°C, preferred 27°C (Ref. 107945); 29°N - 34°S, 33°E - 122°W (Ref. 5222)
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to Durban, South Africa and eastward to French Polynesia and the Pitcairn group, north to the Ryukyu and Ogasawara islands, south to northern Australia and Lord Howe Island. May be confused with Cephalopholis cyanostigma.
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?, range 22 - ? cm
Max length : 60.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 11441); common length : 40.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5450)
soft rays: 9. Dark brown in color, with small black-edged ocelli; 5-6 pale bars on rear part of body; large pale area over chest; distal part of pectorals sometimes maroon brown; triangular membranes at tips of dorsal fin spines orange-gold in color; further characterized by having ctenoid scales, becoming cycloid ventrally on belly; greatest body depth 2.7-3.3 in SL; rounded caudal fin; short pelvic fin, 1.9-2.4 in head length (Ref. 90102); head length 2.4-2.7 times in SL; small eyes, diameter less than snout length; interorbital area flat to slightly convex; rounded preopercle, finely serrate in young, virtually smooth in large adults, lower edge fleshy; smooth subopercle and interopercle; scaly maxilla, reaching well past eye (Ref. 89707).
A generally common species (Ref. 9710) found in a variety of coral habitats (Ref. 58534) from tide pools to depths of at least 40 m; prefers the 1 to 10 m reef zone. Juvenile prefers shallow, protected coral thickets (Ref. 37816). Benthic and benthopelagic (Ref. 58302). Feeds mainly on fishes (75-95%) and to a lesser extent on crustaceans. In the Red Sea, it feeds early in the morning and late afternoon (Ref. 6775); but at Madagascar, it appears to feed more at night (Ref. 6774). Implicated in ciguatera at some of the islands in Pacific region. In Hong Kong live fish markets (Ref. 27253).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall, 1993. FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 109396)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 4690)
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01023 (0.00677 - 0.01546), b=3.07 (2.95 - 3.19), based on LWR estimates for this Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.5 ±0.0 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate to high vulnerability (49 of 100) .