Striped grouper (Epinephelus latifasciatus)
|Also known as:||Banded grouper, laterally-banded grouper|
|French:||Mérou À Bandes|
|Size||Max length: 137 cm (2)|
Max weight: 58.6 kg (2)
Classified as Data Deficient (DD) on the IUCN Red List (1).
This robust marine fish owes its name predominately to the distinctive colouration of the juveniles rather than the adults. Juvenile striped groupers are lavender-grey, shading to white below, with two broad, longitudinal, white bands edged in black. The bands begin either side of the eye and extend respectively to the rear of the spiny dorsal fin and the lower part of the caudal fin. However, with age the white bands fade away, while the black edges break into dashes and spots, and in the largest adults eventually vanish, such that the head and body become uniformly grey. In both adults and juveniles, the dorsal fin and the caudal fin are marked with conspicuous black spots and streaks (2) (3) (4).
The striped grouper has an Indo-West Pacific distribution including the Red Sea, the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and coastal waters of Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Korea, southern Japan, Taiwan, and northwest Australia. Notably, it is not known from the east coast of Africa, the Indian Ocean islands, Indonesia, Philippines, or New Guinea (1) (2).
This bottom dwelling species prefers coarse-sand or rocky areas from depths of 20 to at least 230 metres, while juveniles are typically found on silty-sand and mud bottoms (1) (2).
Other than its habitat preferences, very little has been reported on the biology of the striped grouper, but like other Epinephelus species, it is probably a protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning that individuals begin mature life as female and change sex later to become male (1) (2) (3). Epinephelus species tend to be voracious predators, with fish and crustaceans taken near the sea bottom forming the bulk of prey (2) (5).
Although the striped grouper appears in catches of long-line and trawl fisheries, and is common in markets of Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Arabian Gulf, there is currently no catch data for this species. Without quantitative data, there is little means of assessing the impact of commercial fishing on this species. As a result, the striped grouper is currently listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List (1).
Monitoring of relevant fisheries is essential for determining the conservation status of the striped grouper. It is possible that it may occur in some marine protected areas that fall within its range (1).
For further information on the conservation of groupers see:
Grouper and Wrasse Specialist Group:
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- Caudal fin: The tail fin of a fish, used for steering, balancing or propulsion.
- Crustaceans: Diverse group of arthropods (a phylum of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton) characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (parts of the 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, slaters, 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.
- Protogynous hermaphrodite: An animal that begins its life cycle as a female. As the animal ages, based on internal or external triggers, it shifts sex to become a male animal.
IUCN Red List (April, 2009)
- Heemstra, P.C. and Randall, J.E. (1993) FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16: Groupers of the World. Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome.
- Randall, J.E. (1994) Coastal fishes of Oman. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
- Polovina, J.J. and Ralston, S. (1987) Tropical snappers and groupers: biology and fisheries management. Westview Press, Boulder, Colorado.
- Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.