Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Hyporthodus exsul, Black grouper, Ten-spine grouper

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D X, adult - 2nd & 3rd spines long, 2nd >3rd
juv: green + pale spots & C dark/pale
rear nostril larger, an inverted tear drop
24-27 gill rakers

Hyporthodus exsul (Fowler, 1944)

Ten-spine grouper, Black grouper

Body robust, relatively deep and oval, compressed, deepest at origin of dorsal fin; rear nostril shaped like an inverted teardrop, larger than front nostril; end of top jaw exposed; operculum edge with 3 flat spines; preoperculum without spines; 24-27 gill rakers;  dorsal fin X, 13-14, second & third spines long, 2nd  the longest; anal fin with III spines, 9 rays; pectoral 18-20 rays; lateral line complete, ending at tail base, smoothly arched; scales rough, small, 64-68 on lateral line.

Adult: grey brown; juvenile grey-brown body and fins with large round white spots on body, and bases of dorsal and anal fins; dorsal, anal and pelvics darker than body; pectoral fins & sometimes, outer 2/3 of tail pale; adults and juveniles with dark moustache along margin of top jaw.

Size: 125 cm.

Habitat: rocky habitat.

Depth: 35-450 m.

SE Gulf of California to Panama.

Note: Previously in the genus Epinephelus.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Rocks
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • No Data
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • All species
  • Continent
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Mexican + Panamic provinces endemic
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent only
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 125
Depth Range Min
  • 35
Depth Range Max
  • 450