Overview

Comprehensive Description

Epinephelus aeneus (Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1817)

Mediterranean Sea : 12100-232 (1 spc.), 01.08.1968 , M. Demir ; 12100-240 (11 spa), 01.08.1968 , M. Demir ; 12100- 895 (1 spa), 09.11.2005 , Iskenderun Bay , trawl , 26 m, C. Dalyan .

  • Nurettin Meriç, Lütfiye Eryilmaz, Müfit Özulug (2007): A catalogue of the fishes held in the Istanbul University, Science Faculty, Hydrobiology Museum. Zootaxa 1472, 29-54: 43-43, URL:http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:428F3980-C1B8-45FF-812E-0F4847AF6786
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Biology

Adults are found on rocky or mud-sand bottom; juveniles have been taken in coastal lagoons and estuaries. In the west African waters, diet comprise of fishes (58%), stomatopods (21%), crabs (10%), and cephalopods (10%). It is a protogynous hermaphrodite. The seasonal migration of the species off the coast of Senegal is influenced by the seasonal upwelling off Senegal and Mauritania. Utilized fresh and smoked (Ref. 9987). Highly esteemed in the market of West Africa (Ref. 5377).
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 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. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)
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Distribution

Range Description

General
E. aeneus can be found throughout the southern Mediterranean (up to 44°N in the Adriatic Sea) and along the west coast of Africa to southern Angola, including islands of the Gulf of Guinea. Records from the Canary Islands (Spain) and Cape Verde are unsubstantiated (Heemstra and Randall 1993).

Specific
Albania, Algeria, Angola, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovenia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo Dem Rep, Congo Rep, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey and Western Sahara.
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Eastern Atlantic: along the west coast of Africa to southern Angola, including the southern Mediterranean (Ref. 5222). First record from Corsica, France in 2012 (Ref. 95839). Records from the Canary Islands and Cape Verde are unsubstantiated (Ref. 5222).
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 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. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)
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Mediterranean Sea, eastern Atlantic: Morocco to Angola.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 11; Dorsal soft rays (total): 14 - 16; Analspines: 3; Analsoft rays: 7 - 9
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 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. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)
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Size

Maximum size: 1200 mm TL
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Max. size

120 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5222)); max. published weight: 25.0 kg (Ref. 5222)
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 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. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)
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Diagnostic Description

Distinguished by the following characteristics: depth of body less than head length, depth 3.0-3.6 times in SL; head length 2.5-2.9 times in SL; interorbital area convex; preopercle angular, 3.6- large spines at the angle, lowermost directed ventrally; posterior nostril slightly bigger than anterior nostril; maxilla reaches nearly to vertical at rear edge of eye; pelvic fin origin below base of pectoral fins; rounded caudal fin; body scales ctenoid (Ref. 089707).
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 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. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
General
Adults of E. aeneus occur on rocky or mud-sand bottom up to depths of 200 m, while juveniles have been taken in coastal lagoons and estuaries (Heemstra and Randall 1993).

Length and growth
Ezzat et al. (1981) revealed a linear relationship between total length (L) and scale radius (S): L = 0.1217+5.4420S.

Based on 104 E. aeneus collected from Gulf of Gabès in Tunsia, the von Bertalanffy growth equation was SL(cm)=204.34 (1-e(-0.039(Age+0.767)) (Bouain 1986).

Feeding
In the west African waters, Longhurst (1960) found that its diet comprises of fishes (58%), stomatopods (21%), crabs (10%), and cephalopods (10%). Examination of commercially-caught specimen along Senegalese shore, stomach contents of E. aeneus (400 to 900 mm TL; n=161) suggested that Sardinella aurita and Octopus vulgaris were the preferential and accessory preys during the cold season, respectively. During the warm season, teleosts were abundantly ingested while mollusks (esp. Sepia officinalis) as an accessory prey with the crustacean Callinectes amincola be an occasional prey in the stomach of E. aeneus (Diatta et al. 2003).

Reproduction
E. aeneus is a protogynous hermaphrodite that female matures first at 50 to 60 cm TL and weigh about 3 kg for Tunisian fish. Most females change sex at about 9 kg, but smaller males (3 to 5 kg) are occasionally found (Bruslé 1985).

Based on histological examination on ovaries, Bouain and Siau (1983) suggested E. aeneus spawns in June and July in southeast Tunisian seashores.

Total potential fecundity was estimated to range from 789,436 ova in a 44 cm SL fish of 2.2 kg to 12,589,242 ova in a 87 cm SL fish of 12.6 kg (Bruslé 1985). Vadiya (1984) estimated “absolute fecundity” of a 93.5 cm, 8.6 kg E. aeneus in southeastern Mediterranean at 3,873,271 ova.

Bouain and Siau (1983) estimated the total potential fecundities of a 43.5 cm SL and 87 cm SL E. aeneus from southeastern Tunisian waters were 789,436 and 12,589,242 ripe oocytes, respectively.

750,000 to 1,200,000 eggs were produced by natural spawning in each of the five experiments (4 to 5 females and 3 to 4 males) in captivity, with an average of 80.2% of fertilization rate. (Gorshkova et al. 2002).

Bouain et al (1983) found that the largest fish of the Tunisian population was 115 cm TL, 25 kg, and was estimated to be 17 years old; females mature at 5 to7 years (1.5 to 3.0 kg, 50 to 60 cm TL) and sex change occurs at 10 to 13 years (6 to 15 kg, 80 to 110 cm TL)

Migration
Cury and Worms (1982) suggested the seasonal migratory behaviour of E. aeneus from Mauritania to Senegal. Cury and Roy (1988) noted that E. aeneus migrate and colonize protective areas from Mauritania to Senegal because of the onset of Senegalese upwelling and relaxation of the upwelling off Northern Mauritania. Glamuzina et al. (2000) suggested that E. aeneus is the process of colonization of new areas in the northern Mediterranean and Adriatic.

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

demersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); brackish; marine; depth range 20 - 200 m (Ref. 3589)
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
  • Smith, C.L. 1990 Serranidae. p. 695-706. In J.C. Quero, J.C. Hureau, C. Karrer, A. Post and L. Saldanha (eds.) Check-list of the fishes of the eastern tropical Atlantic (CLOFETA). JNICT, Lisbon; SEI, Paris; and UNESCO, Paris. Vol. 2. (Ref. 3589)
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Depth range based on 4 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 2 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 26 - 159
  Temperature range (°C): 15.641 - 15.864
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.628 - 1.062
  Salinity (PPS): 37.958 - 38.353
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.991 - 5.307
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.162 - 0.213
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.169 - 3.305

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 26 - 159

Temperature range (°C): 15.641 - 15.864

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.628 - 1.062

Salinity (PPS): 37.958 - 38.353

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.991 - 5.307

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.162 - 0.213

Silicate (umol/l): 2.169 - 3.305
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 20 - 200m.
From 20 to 200 meters.

Habitat: demersal.
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Migration

Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
  • Riede, K. 2004 Global register of migratory species - from global to regional scales. Final Report of the R&D-Projekt 808 05 081. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, Bonn, Germany. 329 p. (Ref. 51243)
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Trophic Strategy

Voracious predator.
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Most females change sex at about 9 kg, but smaller males (of 3 to 5 kg) are occasionally found. Total potential fecundity was estimated to range from 789,436 ova in a 44 cm SL fish of 2.2 kg to 12,589,242 ova in a 87 cm SL fish of 12.6 kg. In Tunisia, sex change occurs at 10 to 13 years (6 to 15 kg, 80 to 110 cm TL).
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 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. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Epinephelus aeneus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


No available public DNA sequences.

Download FASTA File
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Epinephelus aeneus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 22
Specimens with Barcodes: 31
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Thierry, C., Sadovy, Y., Fennessy, S., Choat, J.H., Ferreira, B., Bertoncini, A.A., Craig, M.T. & Rocha, L.

Reviewer/s
Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Although it is widespread, E. aeneus is assessed as Near Threatened as it has been heavily fished particularly in west African distribution and has mostly likely declined close to 30% throughout its range.
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Population

Population
General
E. aeneus was previously an abundant species, but has declined significantly in many parts of its range.

In the 1950s, E. aeneus was abundant along the south coast of Morocco (Furnestin et al. 1958).

On the basis of the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and effort of maximization calculated from fishery data, Gascuel and Ménar (1997) classified E. aeneus in Senegal as an over-exploited species.

Glamuzina and Skaramuca (1999) described E. aeneus was very frequent found in the African-Mediterranean waters, but significantly rare in central areas, and not found in northern regions of the Mediterranean.

Froese (2004) suggested the stock of E. aeneus in Senegal is overfished based on three simple indicators (percentages of mature fish in catch, specimens with optimum length in catch and ‘mega-spawners’ in catch.

Fishery-dependent data by country
Senegal
Between 1984 and 1986, artisanal captures of 3,870 tonnes of E. aeneus in Senegal were very strong, which surpassing the MSY. Since then, these captures reduced and reached their low-level of 1,135 tonnes in 1998 (Martial et al. 2002a). On the basis of the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and effort of maximization (fMSY) calculated from fishery data, Gascuel and Ménar (1997) classified E. aeneus in Senegal as an over-exploited species, with fishing effort in 1991 as 2.7 times the fMSY. MSY of E. aeneus was estimated to be 3000 metric tonnes a year (Gascuel and Ménar 1997).

The percentage of mature E. aeneus has decreased from close to 80% in the early 1990s to about 38% in 1999. In the same period, the percentages of E. aeneus at optimum size and of mega-spawners have decreased from about 35% to less than 20%. These suggest that the stock is overfished (Froese 2004).

A range of stock assessment approaches show a decline in biomass of 80 to 90% from 1971 to 1999 as a result of excessive fishing effort (Laurens et al. 2002, 2003). Caught with a variety of fishing gear, including industrial trawls although this sector has contributed a maximum of 27% to landings (1990).

Total catch of E. aeneus in Senegal was 1,851 tonnes in 1991 (Gascuel and Ménar 1997).

MSY of E. aeneus in Senegal was estimated to be 3,000 metric tonnes a year by the surplus production model (Gascuel and Ménar 1997), with fishing effort in 1991 as 2.7 times the fMSY.

Saharan Bank, west Africa
E. aeneus accounted for 5.3% of the mean total abundance of landed fish in 1942 and declined to 0.001% in 1974. E. aeneus was not recorded during a cruise in 1990 (Balguerías et al. 2000).

Tunisia
More than 90% of female E. aeneus collected from 1970-1973 were sized 3-9 kg (Bruslé and Bruslé 1976).

Bouain et al. (1983) stated that E. aeneus comprised 90% of the uploading of fish in Sfax in Tunisia.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
General
The major threat to E. aeneus is overfishing. It is highly esteemed in the market of West Africa (Maigret and Ly 1986) and typically caught with hook-and-line and in trawls (Heemstra and Randall 1993).

Overfishing
E. aeneus is heavily fished throughout its range by various methods from artisanal to industrial. It is consumed as food with considerable economic importance in fisheries of the Mediterranean and west coast of Africa (Heemstra and Randall, 1993). E. aeneus played an important role on the fish market in Senegal, mainly supplies by artisanal fishing. Fresh E. aeneus was produced in industrial scale and for export (Cury and Worms 1982). Cury and Worms (1982) recorded that E. aeneus only comprised a small amount in weight (83,557 kg, 3.7% of the total landing in Saint-Louis and 439,803 kg, 4.3% of the total in Kayar) but a relatively high monetary value of 11% and 17.6% of the total, respectively in 1980.

Aquaculture potential
Gorshkova et al (2002) suggested that broodstock management and larval culture seem to be the main deterrents for successful domestication of E. aeneus. Glamuzina and Skaramuca (1999) noted that juvenile E. aeneus (about 200 g) were adapted to aquarium conditions in Dubrovnik. Particularly good results of aquaculture on E. aeneus have been achieved in Israel (Hassin et al. 1997).
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Near Threatened (NT) , IUCN Grouper and Wrasse Specialist Group
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are currently no conservation or management initiatives for this species. It probably occurs in a few marine protected areas within its range.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; aquaculture: experimental; gamefish: yes
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 1992 FAO yearbook 1990. Fishery statistics. Catches and landings. FAO Fish. Ser. (38). FAO Stat. Ser. 70:(105):647 p. (Ref. 4931)
  • International Game Fish Association 1991 World record game fishes. International Game Fish Association, Florida, USA. (Ref. 4699)
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 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. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)
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Wikipedia

White grouper

The white grouper (Epinephelus aeneus) is a species of grouper living in the subtropical eastern Atlantic Ocean and the southern Mediterranean Sea. It can reach a maximum length of 120 cm and a maximum weight of 25 kg.

Alternatively, the term "white grouper" is also used as a local vernacular name for several other species of fish, including the yellowedge grouper (Epinephelus flavolimbatus), Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus), and Venezuelan grouper (Mycteroperca cidi) ([1]).

References

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