Cook Islands Biodiversity & Natural Heritage

Epinephelus tauvina

Pātuki Paru

Greasy Grouper

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General Information

COMMON NAMES: Greasy Grouper, Greasy Rockcod, Spotted Sea-Bass; German Rotflecken-Zackenbarsch; French Mérou Loutre, Loche Mouchetée

TRADITIONAL NAMES: Pātuki / Pātuki Paru < Pātuki Tarāo (RR), Karau < Va‘ava‘a (MG), Marau < Kauāroa < Tarao (AT), Kaua‘a (AK), Aroa (PL), Tolō Haloa (TS), Torō Haroa (TW), Paremo / Vaharoa (MH), Wāloa (PK); Other Polynesian - Faroa (TAH), Faketa (TUA), Ha'oa (MQA), Aroa (MVA)

GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION: NATIVE e.Africa - Ducie; n. to s.Japan; s. to NSW

COOK ISLANDS STATUS: Native; PLUS: Common in S.Group, outer slope 5-30m; heavily fished. Uncommon in N.Group.; Marine, near-shore

KEY FEATURES: A very large "honeycomb grouper" to 70cm. Large mouth with upper jaw extending about an eye-width behind the eye. Young fish (to 30cm SL) with nearly eye-sized polygons and narrow pale interspace lines, with faint dark dorsal botches and broad faint diagonal bars; adults with well-spaced rounder pupil-sized spots, absent from outer Pectoral Fins, with 4 dark blotches below Dorsal Fin and 1 on tail-base, 3-5 faint dark irregular diagonal bars.

SIMILAR SPECIES: See under Hexagon Grouper (Epinephelus hexagonatus). Present species upper jaw reaching eye-length behind eye is distinctive (vs all other "honeycomb groupers" reach maximum 50% eye-width behind eye).

Enlarged Image of 'Epinephelus tauvina'

Cook Islands Distribution

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Southern Group: Present    Makatea:

Northern Group: Present

Key to Symbols

Scientific Taxonomy

Epinephelus tauvina (Forsskål, 1775)
SYNONYMS: Perca tauvina [O]

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

Vouchers & References

Cooks: Heemstra & Randall 1993, FAO Fish. Synops. #125, Vol.16. Rarotonga: BPBM28291. Palmerston: Photo16 as Epinephelus merra (G&S85), reID Randall (Sims88); reported (Preston95). Pukapuka: specimen+photo, 2/2004, G.McCormack with ID as Epinephelus tauvina, to BPBM, ID confirmed J.Randall, 5/2004. Suwarrow: field ID Sims (Sims EIA99).

Special Reference: Heemstra & Randall 1993, FAO Fish. Synops. #125, Vol.16

text p.106 Myers (1991 2nd Ed.) Fishes of Micronesia
plate 33b Myers (1991 2nd Ed.) Fishes of Micronesia
p.114 Randall et al. (1990) Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef....
p.188 Burgess et al. (1988) Atlas of Marine Aquarium Fishes (TFH)
plate 27-04 Lieske & Myers (1996) Coral Reef Fishes
plate 26-11 Allen (1997) Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia....
Species No. 488 Munro (1967) Fishes of New Guinea

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