Cook Islands Biodiversity & Natural Heritage

Epinephelus spilotoceps

Marau (AK)

Foursaddle Grouper

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General Information

COMMON NAMES: Foursaddle Grouper, Foursaddle Rockcod; French Mérou à Quatre Selles

TRADITIONAL NAMES: Marau < Kauāroa < Tarao (AT), Marau < Tarāoa (MK), Tolōpunga (TS), Torōpunga (TW)

GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION: NATIVE e.Africa - Line Is; n. to Taiwan; s. to Niue

COOK ISLANDS STATUS: Native; Marine, near-shore, Shallow reef and lagoons; shallow reef waters

KEY FEATURES: A small "honeycomb grouper" to 25cm SL. Thickset (depth 3x in SL), with slender tail-base (less than 2nd anal spine length), with upper jaw reaching just beyond eye hind-margin. Close-set dark and light brown polygons separated by narrow pale lines, and similarly on fins and tail; belly spots round and well spaced; 4 dark blotches under Dorsal Fin, darkest under posterior spinous fin, with 1 on tail-base; broad dark bars below upper-midbody; 3-4 rows of small spots on front upper lip; Pectorals distally uniform dull yellowish-green. Dorsal spines XI, mid-lowerjaw teeth in 2-4 rows; tops of Dorsal spines black.

SIMILAR SPECIES: See under Hexagon Grouper (Epinephelus hexagonatus). Most simialr to Blackspot Grouper (Epinephelus melanostigma) and Greasy Grouper (Epinephelus tauvina) - see under those species.

Enlarged Image of 'Epinephelus spilotoceps'

Cook Islands Distribution

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Southern Group: Present    Makatea:

Northern Group:

Key to Symbols

Scientific Taxonomy

Epinephelus spilotoceps Schultz, 1953
TAXONOMY: ANIMALIA; CHORDATA; GNATHOSTOMATA (Jawed Vertebrates); PISCES; OSTEICHTHYES; Perciformes; Percoidei; Percoidea; SERRANIDAE, Epinephelinae

Vouchers & References

Mangaia: Papera, Keia District, around huge rock in lagoon 0m, CAS61554 (DSM58). Atiu: field-specimen+photo, NBSAP-College, 10/2000, ID GMcC. Tongareva: fieldspecimen+photo, NBSAP, 11/2001, ID GMcC.

text p.108 Myers (1991 2nd Ed.) Fishes of Micronesia
plate 33f Myers (1991 2nd Ed.) Fishes of Micronesia
p.114 Randall et al. (1990) Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef....
plate 28-05 Lieske & Myers (1996) Coral Reef Fishes

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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