Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Epinephelus morio, Red grouper

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

red-brown + irregular pale blotches & spots
D, C & A: outer edge dark + white border
D: high peak at spines II-III
C: straight/slightly concave
inside mouth red

Epinephelus morio (Valenciennes, 1828)

Red grouper

Body slender, compressed, deepest at origin of dorsal fin, depth < head length; rear of top jaw exposed when mouth closed, without bony knob at lower rear corner; teeth depressible; sides of roof of mouth with teeth; front & rear nostrils ~equal; operculum edge with 3 flat spines; preoperculum angular, serrations at angle slightly enlarged; 23-25 gill rakers; dorsal fin XI, 16-17, spine II or III longest, creating a high peak in fin, membranes between spines not indented, length of base of soft part not longer than that of spiny part; anal fin III, 8-10; pectoral fin symmetrically rounded, 16-18; origin of pelvic under origin of pectoral, shorter than pectoral; tail rounded in small fish, straight to slightly concave in large fish; body scales rough, ~60 on lateral line.

Adult: head and body reddish brown, paler below; snout and cheek with a few dark spots; inside mouth orange-red; irregular white blotches behind eye, sometimes along snout, and as 3-4 saddles along upper back, the longest one of those down from rear of nape; flank and tail base with small white spots; edges of dorsal, tail and anal fins dark, with a narrowly white border; tail base and tail fin sometimes pale. Juvenile: yellow-brown to brown; dorsal, tail and anal fins with a thin blue-white edge to a thick blackish band; scattered small black spots on operculum.

Size: 125 cm, 23 kg.

Adults and juveniles on hard bottoms.

Depth: 5-330 m; juveniles at 5-25 m, adults usually at > 50 m.

N Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Corals
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • All species..
  • GC non-endemic
  • Also in Brazil
  • Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 125
Depth Range Min
  • 5
Depth Range Max
  • 330