Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Epinephelus quinquefasciatus, Pacific goliath grouper, Pacific itajara grouper

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

grey + scattered dark spots, oblique dark bars
juv: dark bars & spots
D: XI, spines shorter than rays
C: rounded

Epinephelus quinquefasciatus Bocourt, 1868

Pacific goliath grouper, Pacific itajara grouper

Body robust and oblong; wide and flat between eyes; eyes small; edge of preopercle angular; finely serrated; 21-24 gill rakers; dorsal fin XI, 15-16, the spines shorter than the rays; anal rays III, 8; pectoral rays 19; tail rounded.

Large fish: head and body grey or greenish with pale blotches and small dark brown or blackish spots scattered over upper parts of head, body, and on pectoral fins. Subadults (< 100 cm) greenish to tawny brown with oblique, irregular darker brown bars on body and tail fin. Juvenile with heavily spotted head, soft dorsal, pectoral, pelvic, and tail fins; 5 oblique black bars on body that extend onto dorsal and anal fins; a black bar on base of tail fin.

The largest bony reef fish in the region, growing to 250 cm and 320 kg.

Habitat: rocky reefs as well as bays, estuaries and mangrove areas.

Depth: 1-100 m.

Eastern Pacific; the SW and central E Gulf of California to Peru, the Revillagigedos, Cocos and Malpelo.

Note: Its Atlantic sister species is Epinephelus itajara.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Estuary
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Rocks
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Sharks/rays
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Data
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Sea snakes/mammals/turtles/birds
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
Regional Endemism
  • TEP endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
IUCN Red List
  • Data deficient
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 250
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 100