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Species: Mycteroperca phenax, Scamp grouper, the Scamp

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

all body: brown spots, usually in paw-print clusters
mouth +/- yellow
D & A with dark spots
C dark, pale border, projecting rays uneven
pectoral edge: dark inside white
preopercle notched
lower gill rakers 17-21
A - end pointed rays 6-8 project
juvenile colored like adult

Mycteroperca phenax Jordan & Swain, 1884


Body elongate, robust, compressed, depth at dorsal origin not greater than at anal origin; snout much longer than eye; in adult rear nostril 2-4X larger than front nostril; lower jaw projecting; rear of top jaw exposed when mouth closed, without accessory bone above it; teeth depressible; canines at front of jaws; preopercle serrated at lower corner, with a distinct notch above serrated corner; gill rakers, including rudiments, 26-31, 17-21 below; dorsal fin with XI spines, indented between spines, 16-18 rays, rear edge rounded; anal fin with III spines, 11-12 rays, rays 6-8 elongated, lower rear edge pointed in adult; tail fin strongly concave, rays projecting unevenly beyond fin end; scales rough on side of body; 76-82 scales on lateral line.

Adult with a variety of patterns: (i) usually head and body pale brown, almost entire body covered with small dark red-brown spots, 1 per scale, that are often in clusters like paw-prints, which form saddles on the back and elongate blotches on body, spots extend onto medial fins; pectoral fin with dark inner margin, whitish outer margin; tail dark, with a pale margin; (ii) pale brown, upper body with clusters of dark brown spots that resemble cat’s paws; (iii) large adults head and front body slivery grey with dark reticulations, rear 2/3 of body dark, belly and tail base above anal fin with a few white spots; pectorals with a black margin, tail fin dark, with pale edge; (iv) bicolored – pale brown at front, abruptly dark from soft dorsal back. Juvenile without a bicolored phase.

Reaches 107 cm.

Found on reefs; juveniles in shallow water, including mangroves.

Depth range: 0-100 m; adults usually below 30 m.

N Carolina to Venezuela.

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  • Marine
  • Brackish
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Corals
  • Estuary
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Mangrove
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
  • Data
Global Endemism
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species..
  • Continent only
  • Continent
  • GC endemic
  • Extends North 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
  • Data deficient
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 107
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 100