Honeycomb grouper (Epinephelus merra)

loading
Facial detail of honeycomb grouper
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Honeycomb grouper fact file

Honeycomb grouper description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassActinopterygii
OrderPerciformes
FamilySerranidae
GenusEpinephelus (1)

The honeycomb grouper is one of the most widely-distributed and common groupers in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. A robust-bodied predatory fish, its body is around a third deep as it is long and the wide tail fin is distinctively rounded (1) (3). The head, body and fins are all a pale colour and covered in dense, dark brown spotting, with the pale spaces between the spots forming a honeycomb pattern (1) (3). This spotting becomes lighter and more widely spread on the underparts and at the edges of the fins, and the spots on the sides may join to form horizontal bars (3).

Also known as
birdwire rockcod, black-spotted rock-cod, common birdwire rockcod, dwarf spotted grouper, dwarf spotter rockcod, dwarf-spotted grouper, honeycomb cod, honeycomb rock cod, wire-netted reefcod, wire-netting cod.
Synonyms
Cephalopholis merra, Ephinephelus merra, Epinephalus merra, Epinephelus megachir, Serranus merra.
French
Loche Rayon De Miel, Macabit, Merou A Treillis, Merou Gateua De Cire, Plat Gris, Vielle De Fond, Vielle Gris, Vielle Voleuse.
Spanish
Mero Panal.
Size
Maximum length: 31 cm (2)
Top

Honeycomb grouper biology

Very little is known about the biology of the honeycomb grouper, but like many other groupers it displays the remarkable ability to change its sex, starting its life as a female and, more often than not, later changing to a male (1) (3). While the exact timing of breeding is unknown, it takes place between January and April at the Society Islands in the southern Pacific Ocean, and between May and August at Okinawa, Japan, when large numbers of mature male and female fish gather into aggregations (1) (4). During this time, spawning peaks over three of fours days around a full moon. The young fish are particularly vulnerable to predation, but those fish that survive will spend their whole life around a small area on a single reef. Young honeycomb groupers mainly feed on crustaceans, while adults mostly eat fish (1) (3).

Top

Honeycomb grouper range

The honeycomb grouper is found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, where it ranges from South Africa eastwards to the Pitcairn Islands (excluding the Red Sea, Arabian Gulf and coastal India), north to southern Japan, and south to New South Wales and Lord Howe Island, Australia (1) (3).

Top

Honeycomb grouper habitat

The honeycomb grouper is largely found around oceanic islands where it inhabits coral reefs in shallow waters down to depths of around 50 metres (1) (3).

Top

Honeycomb grouper status

Classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

Top

Honeycomb grouper threats

While the honeycomb grouper is a widespread and abundant species not currently threatened with extinction, it is a commercially important species that is subject to fishing with hand-lines, nets and capture in traps. At present, this exploitation is likely to be of low to moderate levels, but due to the honeycomb grouper being an aggregate spawner, it is particularly vulnerable to fishing during the breeding season. However, fortunately for this species, the young age at which it reaches maturity means that most caught individuals have already bred and that the population is resistant to all but the most intensive of fishing pressures (1).

Top

Honeycomb grouper conservation

Due to its non-threatened status the honeycomb grouper has not been the target of any known conservation measures; however, it occurs in a number of marine protected areas, including several in the Australian parts of its range (1).

ARKive is supported by OTEP, a joint programme of funding from the UK FCO and DFID which provides support to address priority environmental issues in the Overseas Territories, and Defra
Top

Find out more

For more information on the conservation of fish, see:

Top

Authentication

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:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

Top

Glossary

Crustaceans
Diverse group of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton 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 and barnacles.
Spawning
The production or depositing of eggs in water.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (August, 2010)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. FishBase (August, 2010)
    http://fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=4923
  3. Heemstra, P.C. and Randall, J.E. (1993) FAO Species Catalogue. Volume 16. Groupers of the World (Family Serranidae, Subfamily Epinephelinae). An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of the Grouper, Rockcod, Hind, Coral Grouper, and Lyretail Species Known to Date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125, Vol. 16. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome.
  4. Lee, Y.D., Park, S.H., Takemura, A. and Takano, K. (2002) Histological observations of seasonal reproductive and lunar-related spawning cycles in the female honeycomb grouper Epinephelus merra in Okinawan waters. Fisheries Science, 68: 872-877.
X
Close

Image credit

Facial detail of honeycomb grouper  
Facial detail of honeycomb grouper

© Valerie Taylor / www.ardea.com

Ardea wildlife pets environment
59 Tranquil Vale
London
SE3 0BS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 208 318 1401
ardea@ardea.co.uk
http://www.ardea.com

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Honeycomb grouper (Epinephelus merra) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is affected by global climate change. To learn about climate change and the species that are affected, visit our climate change pages.

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog RSS