The whitespotted grouper (Epinephelus coeruleopunctatus) is an Indo-Pacific species of saltwater grouper. The distribution ranges from East Africa, South Africa and the Persian Gulf east to Fiji and Tonga. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern".
The whitespotted grouper is a moderately deep-bodied fish growing to a maximum length of about 76 cm (30 in). There are three to five rows of teeth in the lower jaw. The dorsal fin has eleven spines and about sixteen soft rays and the anal fin has three spines and eight soft rays. The pelvic fins are short and the caudal fin is rounded. The top edge of the opercular cover is only slightly convex and the posterior edge curves at an acute angle. The head, body and dorsal fin are dark brownish-grey, spotted with large white blotches. In large adults, over about 30 cm (12 in), the white patches tend to merge into wavy bands or mottling.
The whitespotted grouper is found in shallow water in the Indo-Pacific region. Its range extends from the coast of East Africa and the Persian Gulf eastwards to Japan, China, Indonesia, Fiji and Tonga. A record from Western Australia may have been of another species.
The whitespotted grouper is a demersal, shallow-water, reef-associated fish. It is generally found in rocky areas, or near where coral is growing in deep lagoons, or on outer reef slopes or channels, often near or in caves. It is not a schooling fish and is usually seen singly. It feeds on small fish and crustaceans, with crustaceans making up the greatest part of its diet. Little is known about its reproduction and life history.
The whitespotted grouper has a wide range and is common in places and uncommon in others. The population trend for this fish is unknown but it is caught in artisan fisheries throughout its range. The fish is found in a number of protected areas and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern".
As all fish, the whitespotted grouper has many parasite species. The diplectanid monogenean Pseudorhabdosynochus bacchus is a parasite of the gills. Other parasites include copepods and species of Haliotrema (Monogenea) on the gills and the opecoelid digenean Cainocreadium epinepheli in the caeca.
- Rhodes, K.; Russell, B.; Kulbicki, M.; Yeeting, B.; Fennessy, S.; Myers, R. (2008). "Epinephelus coeruleopunctatus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2008: e.T132751A3440940. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T132751A3440940.en. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- Bailly, Nicolas (2015). "Epinephelus coeruleopunctatus (Bloch, 1790)". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
- Epinephelus coeruleopunctatus FishBase, 2015.
- Smith, Margaret M.; Heemstra, Phillip C. (2012). Smiths’ Sea Fishes. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 522–523. ISBN 978-3-642-82858-4.
- Sigura, Aude; Chauvet, Claude; Justine, Jean-Lou (2007). "Pseudorhabdosynochus bacchus sp. nov. (Monogenea, Diplectanidae) from Epinephelus coeruleopunctatus (Perciformes, Serranidae) off New Caledonia". Acta Parasitologica. 52 (3). doi:10.2478/s11686-007-0028-x. ISSN 1896-1851.