Epinephelus tauvina   (Forsskal,  1775) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Moorea Biocode

Size: 75-200 cm.

Color: Of head and body pale greenish grey or brown with round dark spots that vary from dull orange-red to dark brown, centers darker than the edges. A large black blotch (or group of black spots) often visible on body at the base of last 4 dorsal-fin spines. Five sub vertical dark bars may be present on body. Dark spots on soft dorsal, caudal and anal fins of juveniles are so close that the pale interspaces form a white reticulum.

Body thick and elongate having depth of 1/3rd of standard length. Height 2.9-3.3, 3.4-4.1 in length with caudal. Head 2.3-2.5, 2.7-3 in length with caudal. Eye 5.7-7.8, some what less than snout, almost twice in snout in large specimens. Interorbital width less than eye, in large specimens much more than eye. Lower jaw projecting. Mouth somewhat oblique. Maxillary reaching beyond posterior border of eye, the width of its distal extremity equal to eye in large specimens, in smaller specimens 1.5 in eye. Teeth in narrow bands in the young, in broader bands in the adults, in three series on the sides of the mandibles in the latter, canines small, disappearing in old specimens. Praeopercular border angular, sometimes produced at angle, serrated behind, the serrae at angle enlarged. Opercular spine nearly equidistant, lower somewhat furtherback than upper. Opercular flap pointed, its upper border slightly convex. Gillrakers moderate, 10 to 11 and 4 or 5 rudiments on lower part of anterior arch. Dorsal originating above base of pectorals, third or 4th spine longest, 3.2-3.3 in head, 5 times in large specimens, much shorter than soft rays. Second anal spine as long as or a little shorter than third, mush shorter than soft rays. Pectorals a little shorter than postorbital part of head, in large specimens equal to distance between eye and superior end of branchial opening. Ventrals one fourth eye-diameter shorter. Caudal rounded. Scales of head cycloid, those of body and tail ctenoid, cycloid in old specimens. 95-112 scales in longitudinal series. Scales on body ctenoid in juveniles, becoming cycloid in adults except the area beneath and posterior to pectoral fins. Pyloric caeca 16-18. Differs from Epinephelus corallicola and Epinephelus howlandi by its more elongate body and closer-set spots.

Protogynous, fertilization external, nonguarders, open water/substratum egg scatterers. Oviparous.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Serranus phaeostigmaeus Fowler, 1907
Epinephelus chewa Morgans, 1966
(Junior synonym)
Epinephelus elongatus Schultz, 1953
(Junior synonym)
Epinephelus salmoides (non Lacepede, 1802)
(Misapplied name)
Holocentrus pantherinus Lacepede, 1802
(Junior synonym)
Perca tauvina Forsskal, 1775
(Senior synonym)
Serranus goldiei Macleay 1882
(Junior synonym)
Serranus jansenii Bleeker, 1857
(Ambiguous synonym)
Serranus pantherinus (Lacepede, 1802)
(Junior synonym)
Holocentrus malabaricus Bloch, 1801
Holocentrus salmoides Lacepede, 1802
Bola coioides Hamilton-Buchanan, 1822
Serranus maculosus Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1828
Serranus crapao Cuvier and Valenciennes, 1829
Serranus diacopeformis Bennett, 1830
Serranus crapao Richardson, 1842
Serranus schipan Richardson, 1846
Serranus cropao Bleeker, 1849
Serranus bontoo Cantor, 1850
Serranus areolatus var. semipunctata Ruppell, 1852
Serranus abdominalis Peters, 1855
Serranus janseni Bleeker, 1857
Serranus diacanthus Gunther, 1859
Serranus chabaudi de Castelnau, 1861
Epinephelus crapao Bleeker, 1865
Serranus bontoo Day, 1865
Serranus suillus Playfair and Gunther, 1866
Serranus salmonoides Klunzinger, 1870
Epinephelus variegatus Bleeker, 1873
Epinephelus pantherinus Bleeker, 1876
Homalogrystes guntheri Alleyne and Macleay, 1876
Serranus malabaricus Day, 1888
Serranus pantherinus Klunzinger, 1880
Serranus crapao Macleay, 1881
Epinephelus crapao Sauvage, 1881
Serranus estuarius Macleay, 1883
Serranus salmonoides Klunzinger, 1884
Serranus polypodophilus Macleay, 1884
Serranus pantherinus Day, 1889
Epinephelus malabaricus Sauvage, 1891
Epinephelus tauvina Boulenger, 1895
Epinephelus tauvina Waite, 1899
Epinephelus tauvina Jordan and Evermann, 1902
Epinephelus (Aethaloperca) heniochus Fowler, 1904
Epinephelus malabaricus Jordan and Seale, 1907
Epinephelus estuarius Ogilby, 1911
Epinephelus praeopercularis M. Weber, 1913
Epinephelus estuarius Cockerell, 1913
Epinephelus tauvina McCulloch, 1919
Serranus salmoides Hora, 1924
Epinephelus tauvina Barnard, 1927
Serranus tauvina Fowler and Bean, 1927
Serranus tauvina Fowler, 1928
Cephalopholis tauvina (Forsskal, 1775)
(Senior synonym)
Epinephelus megachir (non Richardson, 1846)
(Misapplied name)
Epinephelus tauvina Weber and de Beaufort, 1931
Serranus stoliczkae Day, 1878
Epinephalus tauvina (Forsskal, 1775)

Common Name (s)
• Estuary Rockcod (English)
• Greasy Grouper (English)
• Greasy Rock Cod (English)
• Green Grouper (English)
• Reef Cod (English)
• Speckled Rockcod (English)
• Spotted Grouper (English)
• Greasy Reef Cod (English)
• Salai (Gujarati)
• Wekhali (Gujarati)
• Wekhru (Gujarati)
• Panni Kalawa (Malayalam)
• Panni Kalava (Malayalam)
• Poochachammam (Malayalam)
• Bhole
• Thala kalava
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial, Dangers
(Fisheries, aquaculture, gamefis. Marketed fresh or frozen.
Reported to cause ciguatera poisoning.)
(The greatest threat to Epinephelus tauvina is likely overfishing. It is caught by multiple gears, including hook-and-line, spear, and traps. This species is important to artisanal and recreational fisheries.)
Cultured:  Yes

Habitat:  Reef Associated, Estuarine
Trophic Level:  Secondary Consumer
Prey:  Fishes (holocentrids, mullid, and pomacentrid), crab
IUCN Status:  Data Deficient


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Lat: 12.53) (Long: 92.82) INDIA
• Kerala, Off Kozhikode INDIA (Record: 1992-2002)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman INDIA
• Kerala, Ponnani Estuary INDIA (Record: 03/1997-02/1999)
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti INDIA
• Red Sea
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Orissa, Chilika INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Great Nicobar Island INDIA (Record: 08/2000-07/2003)
• Pondicherry, Karaikal (Lat: 10.26) (Long: 79.85) INDIA (Record: 01/2003-12/2003)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Bay of Bengal (Lat: 8.8) (Long: 78.38) INDIA (Record: 02/1985-06/1987) (Depth: 33 mts)
• Orissa, Chilika Lake INDIA (Record: 1948-1950)
• Karnataka, Netrani Island INDIA
• Gujarat INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA
• Tamil Nadu INDIA
• Kerala INDIA
• Gujarat, Veraval Coast INDIA
• Kerala, Kochi Coast INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Prasad, M and Varshney, RK (2002) Checklist of Indian Odonata Available at - http://www.geocities.com/indianodonata/check_list.htm
  • Hussain, SM Brief report on biodiversity in the coastal areas of Pakistan p 113
  • Pauly, D and Palomares, ML (1878) Shrimp consumption by fish in Kuwait waters: A methodology, preliminary results and their implications for managemant and research Kuwait Bulletin of Marine Science 9 101-125 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Euzen, O (1987) Food habits and diet composition of some fish of Kuwait Kuwait Bulletin of Marine Science 9 65-85 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Samuel, M; Mathews, CP and Baddar, MK (1987) Stock assessment of Hamrah (Lutjanus coccineus) and Hamoor (Epinephelus tauvina) from the Arabian Gulf using surplus production and dynamic pool models Kuwait Bulletin of Marine Science 9 195-206 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Heemstra, E; Heemstra, P; Smale, M; Hoopers, T and Pelicier, D (2004) Preliminary checklist of coastal fishes from the Mauritian island of Rodrigues Journal of natural history Taylor and Francis 38(23-24) 3315 - 3350 Available at - taylorandfrancis.metapress.com/ index/
  • Rajan, PT (2003) A field guide to marine food fishes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands ZSI, 234/4, AJC Bose Road, 2nd MSO Building, (13th Floor), Nizam Palace, Kolkata-700 020 260 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • AlBehbehani, B (2002) Studies on helminthes infecting some local fishes in Kuwait Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology 32(3) 879-892 Available at - Zoological Records
  • Ahmad, S and AlGhais, SM (1996) Metal contents in the tissues of Lutjanus fulviflamma (Smith 1949) and Epinephelus tauvina (Forskal 1775) collected from the Arabian Gulf Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 57(6) 957-963
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at - http://www.fishbase.org
  • Tun, MT (2001) Marine fishes of Myanmar (pelagic and demersal) U Than Tun, Director-General, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, Myanmar 276 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at - http://www.marinespecies.org
  • Manojkumar, PP (2005) Fishery of the spinycheek grouper, Epinephelus diacanthus (Valenciennes), off Calicut along the Malabar Coast Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin, India 47(1) 63-69 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Barcode Of Life Data Systems Available at - http://www.barcodinglife.org/views/login.php
  • Weber, M; Beaufort, LF (1931) The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago Print times, Pataudi house, Daryaganj, New Delhi 6 448 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Bijukumar, A and Sushama, S (2000) Ichthyofauna of Ponnani estuary, Kerala Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 42(1&2) 182-189 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at - http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  • Satapathy, D and Panda, S (2009) Fish atlas of Chilika Chilika Development Authority, Bhubaneswar 74 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Fischer, W and Bianchi, G (Eds.) (1984) FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (Fishing Area 51) FAO, Rome 4 Available at - http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/ad468e/ad468e00.HTM#Contents
  • Rajaram, R; Srinivasan, M; Khan, SA and Kannan, L (2004) Ichthyofaunal diversity of great Nicobar Island, Bay of Bengal Journal of Indian fisheries association 31 13-26 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Rajasegar, M and Sendhilkumar, R (2009) Finfish Resources of Karaikal,South East Coast of India World Journal of Fish and Marine Sciences IDOSI Publications 1 (4) 330-332 Available at - http://www.idosi.org/wjfms/wjfms1%284%2909/13.pdf
  • Dr. Kumaraguru, AK (2000) Studies on socioeconomics of Coral Reef resource users in the Gulf of Mannar coast, South India Centre for Marine and Coastal studies School of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India Available at - http://planningcommission.nic.in/reports/sereport/ser/stdy_coral.pdf
  • Balachandran, K and Nizar, MA (1990) A check list of fishes of the Exclusive Economic Zone of India collected during the research cruises of FORV Sagar Sampada Proceedings of the first workshop on scientific results of FORV Sagar Sampada CMFRI, Cochin 305-324 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/5269/1/43.pdf
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/569/1/Bulletin_8.pdf
  • Jones, S and Sujansingani, KH (1954) Fish and fisheries of the Chilka Lake with statistics of fish catches for the years 1948-1950 Indian Journal of Fisheries Indian Journal of Fisheries for the Indian Council of Agricultural Research 1 (1-2) 256-344 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/1634/2/Article_15.pdf
  • Thomas, S; Sreeram, MP; Kakati, VS; Manisseri, MK and George, RM (2011) Coral fish diversity in Netrani waters off Murudeshwar Karnataka, south India Indian journal of fisheries CMFRI 58(1) 45-51 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/8473/1/IJF_Sujitha_45-51.pdf
  • Varghese, M; Manisseri, MK; Ramamurthy, N; Geetha, PM; Thomas, VJ and Gandhi, A (2011) Coral reef fishes of Gulf of Mannar, S.E of India Fishing Chimes CMFRI 31(1) 38-40 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Kizhakudan, SJ; Nair, KVS and Zala, MS Demersal Finfish Resources of Gujarat Sustainable fisheries development: Focus on Gujarat 57-66 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/6060/
  • Talwar, PK (1990) Fishes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A synoptic survey Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 6(2) 71-102 Available at - NIO,Goa
  • James, PSBR; Lazarius, S and Arumugam, G (1994) The present status of 'Major Perch' fisheries in India Perch fisheries in India Bulletin Of Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 47 1-9 Available at - http://eprints.cmfri.org.in/8218/1/Bulletin_No_47.pdf
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at - eprints.cmfri.org.in/3975/1/Special_Publication_No_12_Revised.pdf
  • Biswas, KP (2009) Fishes around Indian Ocean Dominant Fish Groups Occurring in Indian Coasts Daya publishing house Available at - NIO,Goa

Page last updated on:2012-01-10

Back to Search