Goldblotch Grouper ( Epinephelus costae )

/ / Fish

Description

E. costae have an elongated pale brown-beige body with a pointed head and a prominent lower jaw.  They possess a faint yellow/gold elongated mark behind their head, as well as four visible horizontal lines on the upper half of their body.  They normally grow to 0.7-1m, but can reach up to 1.4m in length.  Juveniles differ from the adults as they have two brown lines on their operculum as well as a convex tail instead of the typical concave tail of the adults.  The sexually active males differ by having a distinct yellow mark behind their head, a very pale lower half of their body separated from their upper half by a distinct irregular black stripe (1).

Habitat

E. costae inhabit rocky coastal areas, but can also be found at greater depths. They are mostly commonly found in the 10-100m depth range; their range extends to 5-300m (1).

Life Cycle

E. costae do not exhibit parental care over their eggs; they scatter their eggs in the water column (3).

Distribution

E. costae are found in the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean (4).

Migration

E. costae is not recorded as a migratory species.

Behaviour

E. costae are normally solitary and swim in open water; often 5-10m from the bottom (1).  Juveniles form small shoals (2).

Food

E. costae feed on pelagic species; their major prey is fish, however they sometimes feed on molluscs (5).

Conservation status

Not evaluated under the IUCN Redlist (6).

References

Description written by Nikkita Lawton (2009)

(1) Louisy P. 2002.  Epinephelus costae. Guide d’indentification des Poissons Marins Europe et Mediterranee. Les Editions Eugen Ulmer. pp.171

(2) Göthel, H. 1992.  Fauna marina del Mediterráneo. Ediciones Omega, S.A., Barcelona. pp. 319

(3) Heemstra, P.C. and Randall, J. E. 1993.  FAO species catalogue. Vol. 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 Fish. Synop; 125:382

(4) Fishbase. Symphodus doderleini. [Accessed 24 June 2009] www.fishbase.org

(5) Gracia-Lopez, V. and Castello-Orvay, F. 2005.  Food habits of groupers Epinephelus marginatus (Lowe, 1834) and Epinephelus costae (Steindachner, 1878) in the Mediterranean Coast of Spain. Hidrobiologicae; 15: 27-34

(6) IUCN. 2009.  IUCN Red List.  [Accessed 24 June 2009] http://www.iucnredlist.org