Cook Islands Biodiversity & Natural Heritage

Epinephelus merra

Pātuki Paru

Honeycomb Grouper

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Open this image in pop-up window Image: Adult (Aitutaki) 102KB
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General Information

COMMON NAMES: Honeycomb Grouper, Dwarf Spotted Rockcod, Honeycomb Sea-Bass; German Merra-Wabenbarsch,; French Mérou Gâteau de Cire, Loche Rayon de Miel

TRADITIONAL NAMES: Pātuki / Pātuki Paru < Pātuki Tarāo (RR), Karakarau (MG), Marau (AT MK), Marau Vāvā‘anga < Tarāo < Tonu [?sp] (MT), Taraoa (AK), Paremo / Tarao? (PL), Tolō (TS), Torō (TW), Paremo / Tarao? (MH), Paremo / Tarao? (RK), Talāo / Talāo < Wonu Talāo (PK NS); Other Polynesian - Tarao Maraurau (TAH), Petia (TAH-L), Veve (TUA)

GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION: NATIVE e.Africa - Tuamotus; n. to s.Japan; s. to Norfolk. Intro. Hawai‘i, not established

COOK ISLANDS STATUS: Native; PLUS: Both Groups. Rod fishing from the reef.; Marine, near-shore; shallow waters especially around patch reefs, usually less than 20m

KEY FEATURES: A small "honeycomb grouper" to 25cm SL. Relatively large dark polygons, separted by continuous pale lines, some fused to form irregular short stripes; similar on soft Dorsal and tail; often with 3-4 wide irregular dark bands starting at Dorsal Fin; Pectorals with small dark spots mainly on the rays; ventral body spots well spaced. Dorsal Fin spines XI; lower mid-jaw teeth in 2-4 rows; Gill Rakers 6-9 + 14-17; 2nd Anal spine longer than tail-base height.

SIMILAR SPECIES: See under Hexagon Grouper (Epinephelus hexagonatus).

Enlarged Image of 'Epinephelus merra'

Cook Islands Distribution

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Southern Group: Present    Makatea:

Northern Group: Present

Key to Symbols

Scientific Taxonomy

Epinephelus merra Bloch, 1793
TAXONOMY: ANIMALIA; CHORDATA; GNATHOSTOMATA (Jawed Vertebrates); PISCES; OSTEICHTHYES; Perciformes; Percoidei; Percoidea; SERRANIDAE, Epinephelinae

More Information

GENERAL NOTE: Adults under 16cm SL are all females, and they grow and change into males, the latter averaging 20cmSL. This sex change is called protogynous hermaphroditism, literally female-then-male [Randall 1955].

Vouchers & References

Rarotonga: BPBM1982. Aitutaki: field-specimen, NBSAP School, 12/2000, ID GM; fieldsight, lagoon, 12/2000, GMcC. Palmerston: NMNZ-P.11460. Tongareva: ANSP86238, 100986; BPBM3791,5643,5647; NMNZ-P.14649. Pukapuka: fieldspecimen+photo, 2/2004, G.McCormack with ID as Epinephelus merra. Suwarrow: field ID Sims (Sims EIA99).

text p.108 Myers (1991 2nd Ed.) Fishes of Micronesia
plate 33e Myers (1991 2nd Ed.) Fishes of Micronesia
p.111 Randall et al. (1990) Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef....
p.186 Burgess et al. (1988) Atlas of Marine Aquarium Fishes (TFH)
plate 28-01 Lieske & Myers (1996) Coral Reef Fishes
plate 23-10 Allen (1997) Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia....
Species No. 491 Munro (1967) Fishes of New Guinea

Data Update History (information):
zTX, zB02, zM02, zupM07a, zD02

Web Resources

Citation Information

McCormack, Gerald (2007) Cook Islands Biodiversity Database, Version 2007.2. Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust, Rarotonga. Online at Copy citation to system clipboard
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