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).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; reef-associated; non-migratory; depth range 1 - 40 m (Ref. 9710), usually 3 - 20 m (Ref. 37816). Tropical, preferred ?; 31°N - 20°S, 40°E - 148°W (Ref. 5222)
Indo-Pacific: East Africa (but not the Red Sea, Persian Gulf or South Africa) to the Society Islands, north to the Ryukyu Islands, south to northern Australia. Including most islands of the Indian Ocean and that of the west-central Pacific (Ref. 5222). Record from Rodriguez by Heemstra & Randall (1984, Ref. 3153) could not be verified and is probably erroneous (Ref. 33390).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 24.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9710)
soft rays: 9 - 10. Resembles C. urodeta, but always has a distinctive dark saddle on caudal peduncle (Ref. 37816); characterized further by reddish brown head with numerous red-orange or pinkish red spots, extending to pectoral region; mottled pinkish brown body; upper caudal-fin base with large dark brown saddle with smaller saddle just behind; upper part of caudal fin with dark brown streak, less intense streak on lower part; ctenoid scales on body including abdomen; greatest depth of body 2.6-2.9 in SL; rounded caudal fin; pelvic fins, 2.0-2.3 in head length (Ref. 90102).
Occurs in coral-rich areas of lagoon pinnacles, channels, and outer reef slopes. Solitary (Ref. 37816), a secretive species, usually hiding in caves and crevices in the reefs. One of the smallest species of groupers known. Omnivorous with diet composed of fishes and crustaceans; relatively low egg production per individual (Ref. 089707).
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
Fisheries: minor commercial
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningFecundityEggsEgg development
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].
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.0 ±0.66 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (29 of 100) .