Tuesday 21 May
Greasy grouper (Epinephelus tauvina)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Greasy grouper fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Greasy grouper description
A relatively large reef fish with a wide, upward-facing mouth and thick lips, the greasy grouper (Epinephelus tauvina) looks spectacular in its natural habitat. Its head and body range from a pale greenish-grey to brown, and are covered with circular spots of orange-red to dark brown, which are darker towards the middle. One or more large dark blotches are often present on the body at the base of the last four dorsal fin spines. The juvenile greasy grouper has dark spots on its soft dorsal, caudal and anal fins (4).
The greasy grouper looks very similar to its close relative the coral grouper (Epinephelus corallicola). However, the greasy grouper’s body is more elongated than that of the coral grouper, and the spots on its body are closer together (4).
- Also known as
- estuary rock-cod, giant grouper, greasy rockcod, green grouper, reef cod, speckled rockcod, spotted grouper.
- Cephalopholis tauvina, Epinephalus tauvina, Epinephelus chewa, Epinephelus elongatus, Epinephelus megachir, Epinephelus salmoides, Holocentrus pantherinus, Perca tauvina, Serranus goldei, Serranus jansenii, Serranus pantherinus.
- Loche Mouchetee, Merou Loutre, Vielle Lutre, Vielle Negre.
- Mero Lutria. Top
Groupers and Wrasses Specialist Group:
Fishbase – Greasy grouper, Epinephelus tauvina:
- Anal fin
- In fish, an unpaired fin on the under surface of the fish, behind the anus.
- Caudal fin
- The tail fin of a fish.
- Diverse group of animals with jointed limbs and a hard external skeleton, characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, woodlice and barnacles.
- Dorsal fin
- The unpaired fin found on the back of the body of fish, or the raised structure on the back of most cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises).
- Protogynous hermaphrodite
- An animal that begins its life cycle as a female, but later changes sex to become a male. This change may be based on internal or external triggers.
- Reef flat
- The shoreward, flat, broadest area of a coral reef.
- The production or depositing of eggs in water.
IUCN Red List (August, 2011)
- Morris, A., Roberts, C. and Hawkins, J. (2000) The threatened status of groupers (Epinephelinae). Biology and Conservation,9: 919-942.
- Aguru, P. (1985) Report to the Government of Malaysia on Aquaculture Activities. Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.
Fishbase – Greasy grouper, Epinephelus tauvina (August, 2011)
- Abu-Hakima, R. (1987) Aspects of the reproductive biology of the grouper, Epinephelus tauvina (Forskal), in Kuwaiti waters. Journal of Fish Biology,30: 213-222.
- Lee, C. and Sadovy, Y. (1998) A taste for live fish: Hong Kong’s live reef fish market. NAGA, The ICLARM Quarterly, 1: 38-42.
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
Greasy grouper biology
This long-lived fish has a very slow growth rate and a complex life-history (2). It is a protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning that it begins its life as a female and then, in some cases, shifts sex to become a male later on in its lifecycle. It is often the older and larger females that change sex. The advantage of the greasy grouper changing sex is presumed to be to increase its reproductive output (5).
The greasy grouper’s main spawning period is between April and May in Kuwait (5) and between October and February in India (1). Like other groupers, the greasy grouper is likely to produce many offspring (2).
The greasy grouper is a top predator on the reef and is known to eat mainly fish such as clownfish and damselfish (4), although it also takes some crustaceans (1). This species is known to be ‘ciguatoxic’, which means it contains toxins that are very poisonous to humans and larger predators. Fish in the grouper family are often eaten by sharks, barracudas and moray eels (1).Top
Greasy grouper range
The greasy grouper is widespread in the waters between Thailand and Australia, where it is often found around atolls, and is particularly common in the Philippines Sea. The greasy grouper is also found off the coast of East Africa, from the Red Sea to South Africa, where reefs are present (4).
There have also been recordings of the greasy grouper near the Minor Outlying Islands of the United States such as Javis Island and Kingman reef, in the central Pacific Ocean (1).Top
Greasy grouper habitat
The adult greasy grouper inhabits coral reefs at depths of 30 to 100 metres (2) in clear subtropical waters (4). The juvenile greasy grouper is found in tidal pools, mangrove root systems and reef flats in much shallower water than the adult greasy grouper (1).Top
Greasy grouper status
The greasy grouper is classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).Top
Greasy grouper threats
Little is known about the population size and trends of the greasy grouper due to confusion with similar species in the past, together with a general lack of data (1).
Like other groupers, the greasy grouper is likely to be threatened by overfishing, due to its large body size, long lifespan and slow growth rate (2). Groupers are caught by many different methods, including spears, traps and hook and line (1). Fish in the grouper family often inhabit shallow waters and this makes them vulnerable to highly destructive fishing methods in South East Asia, such as dynamite fishing (2).
The greasy grouper is traded in live fish markets in Hong Kong, where its commercial value is high for consumption, medicinal and spiritual uses (6).Top
Greasy grouper conservation
There are no current conservation actions specifically aimed at protecting the greasy grouper. However, the greasy grouper is found within some Marine Protected Areas which regulate fishing activity, such as the Great Barrier Reef and Ashmore Reef Natural Nature Reserve in Australia (1).Top
Find out more
Learn more about the conservation of the greasy grouper:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.