Redmouth grouper (Aethaloperca rogaa)

Also known as: Red-flushed cod, red-flushed rock-cod, redmouth grouper, redmouth rockcod
Synonyms: Aethaloperca rogae, Aethaloperca rogoa, Aetheloperca rogaa, Aetholoperca rogaa, Athaloperca rogae, Cepahlopholis rogaa, Perca lunaria, Perca rogaa
French: Matongo, Merou Noir, Vielle Roga
Spanish: Cherna Roga
SizeMax length: 60cm (2)

Classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).

The redmouth grouper is a robust, reef fish with a deep, compressed body (2) (3). It is generally dark brown to black in colour, occasionally with an orange cast, while the inside of its mouth is reddish-orange, hence the common name (2) (3) (4). The juvenile differs from the adult primarily in having its dorsal fin and caudal fin edged bluish-white. In resembling small, non-predatory reef fish, juveniles are thought to benefit from this ‘disguise’ when foraging for prey (1) (3).

The redmouth grouper is found in the vicinity of most land masses of the Indian Ocean, from South Africa to the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf, east to Southeast Asia and the islands of the western Pacific (1) (2).

This reef species prefers well-developed coral reefs at depths of 1 to 60 metres, where it is often seen near caves and holes (1) (2).

Owing to the natural scarcity of the redmouth grouper, very little is known about this species’ biology (1). It feeds mainly on small, cave-dwelling fish but will also take mantis shrimps and other crustaceans. Early evidence suggests that the redmouth grouper spawns at any time of the year and, unlike some groupers, does not aggregate to spawn (1) (2).

The threats to the redmouth grouper are poorly understood, but there are concerns that it is being overfished due to its capture as bycatch in artisanal and small-scale commercial fisheries. Furthermore, as an inhabitant of coral reefs, this species is likely to be vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation (1).

There are currently no specific conservation measures in place for the redmouth grouper but it is found in protected areas throughout its range (1).

For further information on the conservation of groupers see:

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  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2009)