Like other groupers, the dotted grouper has a robust body with a spiny dorsal fin and a rounded caudal fin (2)(3). As its name suggests, small dark spots arranged in irregular rows are conspicuous over the sides and upper parts of its pale brown to greenish-grey body. In addition, some specimens have a broad dark band running back from the eye to the operculum and two narrower bands running diagonally across the cheek (2)(4).
Also known as
Black-spotted grouper, black-spotted rockcod, broken-line grouper, brown rockcod, spottedback grouper.
Nothing has been published on the biology of the dotted grouper (1), but like other Epinephelus species, it is probably a protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning that individuals begin mature life as female and change sex later to become male (2)(3). Epinephelus species tend to be voracious predators, with fish and crustaceans taken near the sea bottom forming the bulk of prey (2)(5).
Although the dotted grouper is potentially threatened by overfishing there is very little information available to make a detailed assessment of the conservation status of this species. In the absence of research data, it is unknown whether its apparent rarity in fisheries is attributable to naturally low abundance levels, already-depleted stock, or simply a preference for deeper water where it is less likely to be caught (1).
Owing to the lack of information on the dotted grouper, the current conservation priority is to research those aspects of its biology which will significantly influence its vulnerability to overfishing, such as growth rate and reproductive potential. Similarly, quantitative information on the natural abundance of this elusive species is crucial to assessing its status (1).
Diverse group of arthropods (a phylum of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton) characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (parts of the mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, slaters, woodlice and barnacles.
The unpaired fin found on the back of the body of fish, or the raised structure on the back of most cetaceans.
A hard, bony flap that covers and protects the gill slits of fish.
An animal that begins its life cycle as a female. As the animal ages, based on internal or external triggers, it shifts sex to become a male animal.
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